UPMin’s KIST Park to Benefit from DTI’s PRISTINE Project

UP Mindanao Knowledge Innovation Science and Technology (KIST)
An architect’s conception of the Lactic Acid, Biomass, and Biopolymer pilot plant building for the UP Mindanao Knowledge Innovation Science and Technology (KIST).

The University of the Philippines Mindanao’s (UPMin) Knowledge, Innovation, Science, and Technology Park project is moving forward with the due diligence process to obtain anticipated funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) PRISTINE Project.

PRISTINE, or “Promoting Research and Innovation to Strengthen Transformation of Industries and Enterprises,” is a proposed USD 400 million Philippine government loan from the ADB, with the DTI as the executing agency. The PRISTINE program aims to improve the national innovation ecosystem by establishing more applied research and development and innovation infrastructure in line with the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.

The University of the Philippines (UP) is one of the four proposed PRISTINE implementing agencies, alongside the Mariano Marcos State University, Batangas State University, and the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines.

According to UP Mindanao’s Technology Transfer and Business Development Chief Researcher and KIST Park Committee Co-Chairman Dr. Melvin S. Pasaporte, “The ADB loan is currently undergoing due diligence as part of the requirements of the NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee prior to loan approval,” he said.

“The loan is hoped to be approved by the last quarter of this year,” he said.

Once approved, PRISTINE will benefit the UP System, especially UP Mindanao (UPMin) and the three other universities, by enabling them to build infrastructure for their Knowledge, Innovation, Science, and Technology (KIST) Parks on their respective campuses.

“We are looking forward to a possible funding of around P650M from PRISTINE for our KIST Park innovation infrastructure project,” he said.

“The fund will be used to construct one building complex to house the Pilot Plants for Biomass Processing, Lactic Acid, and Biopolymers, as well as other important laboratories and innovation facilities,” he said. “This will be the first building to be constructed in the UPMin KIST Park.”

The UPMin KIST Park will serve as an innovation hub and a convergence point for an academe-industry-government innovation ecosystem in Davao Region. It will address the Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education, and Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, among other goals.

Article from UP Mindanao PRO

UPMin study shows ways to improve coffee farmers’ efficiency





A University of the Philippines Mindanao (UPMin) researcher offered recommendations to improve the incomes of Robusta coffee farmers at the recent 17th Supply Chain Management Forum on “Sustainable Growth and Optimization in Agricultural Value Chains,” which was held online by the UPMin School of Management (SOM).

Researcher Mark James Saguimpa reported that at least 80 countries produce coffee, 50 of which are developing countries, with the Philippines ranking 23rd globally and 7th in Asia. In 2019, the Philippines had a gross coffee bean production of 37,727 Metric Tons, with SoCCSKSarGen Region (Region XII) accounting for 34.57% of this volume.

In his study “The effect of elevation on the technical efficiency of Robusta coffee farms in Sultan Kudarat, Philippines,” he disclosed that many of these coffee producers are smallholder farmers with 21 years of farming experience, live in a four-person household, were able to reach high school (51.27%), farm at a medium elevation (48.01%), and earn approximately PhP 5608.04 and PhP 40373.88 in off-farm activities and coffee farming alone, respectively. Regarding land and yield, the average Robusta coffee farmer respondent has a total land area of 4.91 hectares (ha.) and produces 1,055.55 kg of coffee cherries per ha. Regarding other inputs, the average Robusta coffee farmer uses 144.39 kg of fertilizer per ha. and has 499 coffee trees per ha.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), for its part, assists through the provision of planting materials and farm inputs, postharvest facilities, credit and market access, education programs, and Good Agricultural Practices standards.

However, Researcher Saguimpa said Robusta coffee farms face challenges and issues regarding input acquisition, processing, marketing, transportation, and capacity-building.

Still, farmers could further improve their productivity if they overcome prevalent low farm productivity, low soil fertility, tree senility, pests, and plant diseases.

“A farm’s coffee yield increases with the amount of fertilizer inputs and an increased number of planted trees,” said Saguimpa.

He said farmers could achieve higher yield by acquiring more technical skills and knowledge, accessing additional postharvest facilities, and expanding credit and market access.

“Also, a medium elevation in altitude, such as a farm situated between 501 to 1,000 meters above sea level, significantly improves technical efficiency or improved coffee bean outputs for the least amount of input,” he said.

Furthermore, he recommended that coffee industry players take action to “improve access to inputs, markets, and infrastructure and to promote sustainable farm practices such as agroforestry.”

He also suggested that farmers and industry players “assign a premium to consumers who demand sustainable coffee production,” which does not deplete natural resources and is communicated through eco-labeling.

“These recommendations can contribute to improved income for all coffee growers and entrepreneurs in the entire coffee value chain,” he concluded.

Research Assistant Adrianne John Nuneza, in his research “Factors influencing market outlet choice of coffee farmers,” disclosed that price is the key factor in the coffee farmers’ dilemma of whether to sell their beans to direct buyers or traders and that direct buyers offer higher prices.

He echoed the other researcher’s need for farmers’ farm-to-market roads and post-harvest facilities, access to low-interest credit for agricultural inputs, subsidies to alleviate transport costs, and timely and accessible market price information.

Finally, Researcher Dave Laurence de la Cruz, in his study titled, “Can a Sultan Kudarat farmer afford a Spanish Latte?” concluded that farmers cannot afford this special coffee mix that is made from their produce and sold in upscale cafes. In two coffee-growing towns in Region XII, de la Cruz discovered that coffee farmers’ gross income from coffee bean production, ranging from P22,000 to P47,000 annually, is insufficient for their expenses, requiring the farmers to seek additional income such as from other crops or from employment.

The forum, hosted by the DOST-PCAARRD-funded Agri-Aqua Value Chain Laboratory, was part of UP Mindanao’s 29th anniversary celebration. The UPMin supply chain research addresses the Sustainable Development Goals of No Poverty, Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, among other goals.

Article from UP Mindanao PRO

UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Society, Inc. (UPMCASASI) inks Memorandum of Understanding



The already strong partnership between the UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Society, Inc. (UPMCASASI) became even more durable through the inking of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on May 7, 2024 at the UP Manila CAS Little Theater.

Signing the MOU on behalf of their offices were UPMCASASI President Nanet Tanyag and UP Manila CAS Dean Maria Constancia Carrillo. Witnesses present included Dr. Valerie Tiempo-Guinto of the Office of Alumni Relations, and members of UPMCASASI namely, Atty. Jito Arreza, Butch Madarang, and Roger Cuan.

The MOU aims to further strengthen the creation of student-aid programs and services as well as to foster a better learning environment in CAS.

Source: University of the Philippines Manila Facebook

Novel Explanation for Long-Standing Neutron Lifetime Problem Proposed by UP Nuclear Physicist

By Harvey Sapigao

Atoms are both a wave and a particle, similar to water waves (which are waves) that give rise to water droplets (which are particles) (Photo credit: Zhang Kaiyv on Unsplash)

Neutrons, when plucked from the nucleus of atoms, become unstable and decay after some time. Physicists know that these unstable neutrons die after about 14 minutes, but they cannot pinpoint the exact seconds in which the neutrons last, even as today’s experiments are at their most precise.

This problem, known as the neutron lifetime anomaly, arises because two different but equally rigorous experimental methods – the beam method and the bottle method – produce different results. A popular reason is that some undiscovered phenomenon might be at play.

But Dr. Denny Lane Sombillo of the UP Diliman College of Science National Institute of Physics (UPD-CS NIP) thinks the explanation may lie in how time behaves at a quantum level. “If this [theory] is correct,” he said, “we don’t need to modify the known physics and simply focus on the nature of time in quantum mechanics.”

Dr. Sombillo’s theory involves a separate problem called the quantum time of arrival (QTOA) problem. His theory is built upon the works of Dr. Eric Galapon of UPD-CS NIP. By employing Einstein’s concept of causality in Dr. Galapon’s work, Dr. Sombillo provides an intuitive picture of the quantum time of arrival problem, one that can be used to explain other mysteries such as the neutron lifetime anomaly.

Time of Arrival in Classical vs. Quantum Mechanics

In classical mechanics, a car traveling at 40 kilometers per hour will arrive at the destination 40 kilometers away in exactly one hour. So long as the speed of the car and the distance to the destination do not change, we can be sure that the car’s time of arrival will always be one hour.

A different story emerges in quantum mechanics. An atom traveling at some speed will reach its destination – say, a detector – after some time. However, a weird quirk of an atom is that we can prepare its exact position or exact speed, but not both at the same time. That is, we can prepare it with an exact speed, but we cannot set how far away it is from the detector, and vice-versa. As a result, we cannot be sure of the atom’s time of arrival; we can only know the probability of it arriving after a certain time.

This feature called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, owes its weirdness to the duality of atoms as both a wave and a particle. Naturally, atoms are clouds of probabilities with no definite properties, much like the ambiguity of a wave. When measured or prepared, however, atoms instantaneously acquire exact properties, much like the distinctness of a particle.

Dr. Galapon’s theory on QTOA posits that right after the atom is prepared, it collapses into a specific type of wave. After some time, this wave will evolve and turn into a particle. This process is aptly named the Galapon collapse mechanism (GCM).

Employing Causality

However, Dr. Sombillo noticed that the theory allows for a situation where the atom instantaneously arrives at the detector. That is, the atom can “teleport” to the detector, rendering no time to travel, which is physically impossible. This also violates the concept of causality, which states that one event (a cause) must first happen before another event (an effect).

“You can think of causality as the proper ordering of events,” Dr. Sombillo explained. In the traveling atom, for example, the proper order of events would be that the atom must be prepared first (a cause) before appearing at the detector (an effect). That is, the atom should not be detected by the detector if it has not yet been prepared.

Dr. Galapon’s theory allows for the reversed ordering of events where the detection of the atom precedes its preparation. “Intuitively, this reversed ordering should not be in the theory, but it is not easy to identify this loophole using mathematics alone,” Dr. Sombillo said. “One needs to evaluate the physical implications of the formalism.”

By employing causality, Dr. Sombillo and his collaborator, Dr. Neris Sombillo of Ateneo de Manila University, were able to fix the issue. “We found that the instantaneous arrival time can be removed if we impose causality in the formulation of the time of arrival operator theory,” he said. “Even if we remove the causality-violating part, the quantum correction to time remains.” Their improved formulations can now be used to explain physical phenomena such as the neutron lifetime anomaly.

Neutron Lifetime Anomaly

When an unstable neutron dies, it changes into a proton, emitting an electron and antineutrino. But exactly how long before this process happens is still unknown. The beam experiment suggests that the unstable neutron lasts an average of 14 minutes and 48 seconds, while the bottle experiment suggests 14 minutes and 39 seconds – a nine-second difference.

Dr. Sombillo believes that the difference comes from how the neutrons are initially prepared, which would have affected their lifetime. Just like in the quantum time of arrival problem where the atom’s particle-like state affects how it will evolve into a wave, the neutron’s initial state affects how it will decay.

The beam and bottle experiment, he theorizes, sets the neutrons with dissimilar quantum characteristics. Plugging these values into his equations on quantum time of arrival would result in different neutron lifetimes, accounting for the discrepancy in the experiments.

Now published in Physics Letters A, their paper is the first to merge causality and the quantum time of arrival problem, as well as use it to explain the neutron lifetime anomaly. “Our work is the only proposal that presents the anomaly as a quantum correction to a time observable,” Dr. Sombillo said. “The paper laid the foundation for future work on the neutron lifetime anomaly using the theory of quantum arrival.”

While their work is still at its preliminary stage, he said that they intend to pursue a more thorough investigation of the quantum time theory in the future. Before transitioning as a nuclear physicist, Dr. Sombillo was part of the quantum time operator research group of UPD-CS NIP. He later learned about the neutron lifetime anomaly and how it might relate to the quantum time of arrival problem after his transition.

For interview requests and other media inquiries, please contact:
UPD-CS Science Communications

📧 [email protected]

“Making the Invisible Visible” with Bird Window Strike PH

(Left to right) Panels featured in the “Making the Invisible Visible” pop-up exhibit. Bird displays serve as an example of the harm caused by window collisions. (Photo credits: Bird Window Strike PH & Marmol, 2024)

In February 2024, the UP Diliman College of Science Institute of Biology (UPD – CS IB) housed the “Making the Invisible Visible” pop-up exhibition of the citizen science project, Bird Window Strike Philippines. 

 

Featuring the feathered remains of unlucky birds that had collided into windows, the displays served as poignant and striking visuals for this strange, but common phenomenon. Infographics and posters provided possible solutions and detailed accounts of incidents from up to 290 citizen reports from all around the Philippines.

 

Bird Window Strike PH first started as a research initiative and passion project under Janina Castro of the Ateneo Institute of Sustainability, the school’s hub for sustainable development, and Jelaine Gan of The UP Wild, an online educational community raising awareness on UP Diliman’s wildlife and green spaces. 

 

The two had long been avid bird watchers—or “birders”—when the idea formed after Janina rescued a Coppersmith Barbet that had struck a window in the Ateneo de Manila University. She realized that little to no research was being done on bird collisions with windows despite their somewhat common occurrence. Teaming up with Jelaine, the two discussed how they could bring more attention to this issue and what could be done to prevent further collisions. 

Displays showcasing various installations that can help prevent window collisions, ranging from darker tinted glass, to stickers, to ropes and mesh. (Photo credit: Bird Window Strike PH, 2024)

Bird collisions with windows can happen when they are misled by either the reflections of trees and the sky on the glass surface or by the view of the environment through the glass. Based on studies by various researchers and the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) database, the most efficient means of prevention involved breaking up the reflection. This could be done by installing stickers at least 1 cm in size, ideally spaced around 5 cm apart. The “Making the Invisible Visible” pop-up exhibition showed other solutions, such as ropes and wire mesh screens for windows. 

 

“[These solutions are] among the most effective, but this doesn’t mean that these are the only choices,” the Bird Window Strike PH team emphasized. “In the ABC database, there are a number of DIY solutions and commercial solutions that people can choose from.” 

 

(The ABC database can be found here.)

 

Citizens from across the country aid in raising awareness on the endangerment of various species, as the Bird Window Strike PH regularly receives incident reports and photos—some of which were part of the exhibit. Pigeons (Columbidae), kingfishers (Alcedinidae), barbets (Megalaimidae), and pittas (Pittidae) were among the most common victims of window collisions.

 

“In particular, we get a lot of Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) and Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida) in the reports,” they explained. “We don’t know why these birds seem to be colliding more, but some of the explanations in literature are related to increased blue light pollution in cities and to birds’ behavior of moving around different forest patches.”

 

The citizen science and conservation initiative plans to set up more pop-up exhibitions in the future. By showcasing solutions through these displays and serving as an avenue for incident reports, they hope to reach more people and encourage them to take action in preventing any further accidents.

 

Keep an eye out for the Bird Window Strike PH’s next exhibit and work on their FB page.

For interview requests and other media inquiries, please contact: [email protected]

 

UPV University Library receives books from poet and artist alumni

M.N. Taganap



The University of the Philippines Visayas University Library, under the leadership of Ms. Analiza Galang-Linaugo, University Librarian, recently received four boxes containing 451 books from UP Diliman alumni, Mr. and Ms. Joe and Patria Rivera. The donation includes novels, fiction books, non-fiction books, storybooks for children, and picture books.

The University Library will include the donated fiction books in the new library corner dedicated to fiction enthusiasts. The new building of the University Library will soon feature the library corner. The donation contributes to the growing collection of the library, giving its patrons a wide range of learning, research, and leisure reading resources.

The Filipino Canadian couple, based in Toronto, Ontario also donated 527 library materials in 2022. Patria, also known as Patty, is an accomplished poet and writer with published poetry books and chapbooks that received recognition abroad. One of her written works is Rare Species, a poem that bagged second prize in the Eric Hill Award of Poetic Excellence in 2005.

Patria generously donated copies of her poetry books to the University Library. The books are Puti/White (Finalist, 2006 Trillium Book Award for Poetry), The Time Between, The Bride Anthology, and Be. The husband of Patty, Joe, is a retired lawyer and blogger turned painter whose artworks depict social realism. Various galleries in Canada have displayed the artworks of Joe, such as in the Asian Heritage multimedia exhibit at Toronto City Hall.

Patria is a UP graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, while Joe completed a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration. Their support and love for books are evident through their continued contributions to the University Library. (With sources from the Philippine Canadian News)

Source: https://www.upv.edu.ph/index.php/news/upv-university-library-receives-books-from-poet-and-artist-alumni

College of Public Health (CPH) holds Inaugural Session of the Alumni Forum Series



In line with its mission of promoting public health through educating future health leaders and professionals, the College of Public Health (CPH) held the Inaugural Session of the Alumni Forum Series: Kwentong Alumni last February 20, 2024.

Distinguished alumni of the College were invited to share their professional journeys in the field of public health to encourage students to pursue careers aligned with the field, in response to the needs of the Department of Health and the country. Graduate and undergraduate public health students in the audience were also able to ask the alumni for advice on various topics as they chart the course for their future professional lives.

The forum was held at the Emilio T. Yap Auditorium of the College of Pharmacy with Dr. Luceli C. Cuasay, BS Hygiene alumna, and Director Frances Rose Elgo-Mamaril, BS Public Health and Master of Public Health alumna, as the speakers. Dr. Cuasay is an Epidemiologist and Biostatistician of Research for Health, while Dir. Elgo-Mamaril is the Director of the UHC Health Services Cluster – Technical Office of DOH. Mr. Pio Justin V. Asuncion, Chief Health Program Officer of the DOH-HPDPB Health Research Division, and Ms. Kristine Fei S. Pataueg, Chairperson of the CPH Student Council, shared their reaction to the messages as DOH and BSPH representatives, respectively.

The event was also graced by Asec. Leonita P. Gorgolon, Assistant Secretary of the DOH Health Facilities Enhancement Program Management Office and President of the UP CPH Alumni Society, and Ms. Guia P. Bengzon, President of the UP BS Hygiene/Public Health Alumni Association.

This year, CPH is celebrating its 97th founding anniversary and its 59th year of being designated as the SEAMEO TROPMED Regional Centre for Public Health, Hospital Administration, Environmental and Occupational Health, with the theme: Banyuhay: Dangal at Husay sa Pampublikong Kalusugan, Tugon sa mga Hamon ng Panahon. The forum was conducted as part of the Anniversary celebration of CPH. With this endeavor, the College reaffirms its commitment to providing responsive public service and fostering relations with its alumni.

CPH is celebrating its 97th founding anniversary and its 59th year of being designated as the SEAMEO TROPMED Regional Centre for Public Health, Hospital Administration, Environmental and Occupational Health, with the theme, “BANYUHAY: 97 Taon ng Giting at Dangal ng Pampublikong Kalusugan, Tanglaw sa Bagong Anyo ng Panahon”.

Source: College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Facebook

UP CSWCD releases 2nd Batch for Fe Parajas Israel Benito Scholarship Fund


The UP Diliman College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) released the list of the 2nd Batch of students granted with the Fe Parajas Israel Benito Scholarship Fund. Commenced on the second semester of AY 2023-2024, a total of ten students applied for the scholarship program and five students qualified after carefully assessing their academic standing, income decile, and brief narrative detailing their reasons for applying. The first batch of scholars was launched last October 2023.

Two out of the five grantees were renewed from their previous scholarship grant. The 1st batch of scholars shared how the Fe Benito Scholarship became their lifeline, easing their financial burden which often hampers students’ ability to pursue education. One of the scholars recalled how the scholarship helped him not just financially but also to maintain a healthy lifestyle while being away from the comfort of his home by allocating some of his stipend to buy fruits and vegetables within the community. In addition, CSWCD happily reported that one of the scholars graduated from the college last semester.

In honor of his mother’s legacy, Director/Producer Ted Benito established the Fe Parajas Israel Benito Scholarship Fund to provide financial aid for students who are taking Bachelor of Science in Community Development (BSCD) and Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) in UP Diliman.

The scholarship program is a joint effort of Ted Benito, UP Diliman CSWCD, UP Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles (UPAAGLA), the Office of Scholarships and Grants (OSG), which is under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA), and the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs, UP Office of Alumni Relations (UP OAR).

The Fe Parajas scholarship program will be providing assistance to CSWCD students until AY 2027-2028.

Written by: Marie Ylenette W. Reforzado, Office of Alumni Relations

Support Needed: Philippine Madrigal Singers visit in Alberta, April 14 – 24, 2024



With their Canada Tour 2024, we have the privilege of hosting the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers in Edmonton.

This presents a unique opportunity for us to showcase our hospitality.

We need support and volunteers to assist on concert day, accompany them during their time in Alberta, and help raise funds to offset the expenses associated with hosting – including transportation, accommodation, and meals. Any help / contribution / support, big or small, will do!

Please see more details here on how you can help and to get an idea of our activities.

You are invited to the UPAAE Potluck Dinner with the MADZ on April 18 (Thursday) at 6:00 PM! RSVP here: bit.ly/UPAAEMADZdinner
There will also be a zoom call on Sunday March 24 at 7pm, for those who would like to hear more, and volunteer. Let us know by responding to this email if you would like to join us.

If you have questions, or you’re wondering about a specific support that you might be able to provide, please simply respond to this email, or contact Kehrl at 780-257-0390.

Visit their Facebook page for more info

University of the Philippines Alumni Association Edmonton (UPAAE)
2019 UPAA Distinguished Service Awardee for an Alumni Chapter