Leonides Babanto of Philippine Science High School (PSHS) – Central Mindanao Campus emerged as grand prize winner in the National Biotechology Quiz Contest for High School held in November 22, 2016.

Three other PSHS students also made it to the winners’ circle.

They are Eugene Toribio of PSHS Bicol who tied with another competitor for second spot; Erwin Awitan of PSHS Main Campus in Quezon City who bagged third place; and Ed Christian Tudela, also of PSHS Central Mindanao who placed fifth. PSHS is under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The winners were announced during the closing ceremony of the weeklong 12th National Biotechnology Week (NBW) at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall on November 25, 2016.

Organized by the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology-Diliman (NIMBB-Diliman), the contest aimed to instill in the youth the pivotal role of biotechnology in national development and encourage them to take up science and technology courses in college and become the Philippines’ next wave of scientists. The contest also served as a hub of interaction between the students and biotechnology specialists in the Philippines.

Merriam Webster defines biotechnology as the manipulation through genetic engineering of living organisms and their components to produce useful commercial products such as pest resistant crops, new bacterial strains, pharmaceutical products, and others.

Biotechnology also has applications in protection of water quality, conservation of topsoil, improvement of waste management techniques, production of renewable energy, improvement of manufacturing processes, forensic DNA analysis, and similar DNA technologies.

The National Biotechology Quiz Contest for High School was held in conjunction with the 12th NBW which highlighted the different programs and outputs of government and its partners in the field of biotechnology through exhibits, contests, and various forums.

Government agencies involved in NBW are NIMBB, DOST, DENR, DA, DOH, DTI, DILG, DepEd, and CHED. (By Espie Angelica A. de Leon S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)