Biosafety symposium kicks off in Philippines

The first three day Regional Symposium on the Advocacy and Partnership on Biosafety and Biosecurity in Mindanao, Philippines, has officially begun.

The purpose of the symposium is to bring together policy makers, researchers, scientists, academics, local government, health professionals, emergency responders and heads of agencies in a process that would develop awareness and regional cooperation while building a partnership among biosafety and biosecurity stakeholders in the region.

The symposium also was called to create and establish a Mindanao Biosecurity Network and establish a network in the region with academic, medical, military and local government units to build a partnership to counteract biothreats. Resources to sustain the biosafety and biosecurity programs were also identified at the symposium.

The symposium has identified biosecurity as a high profile issue and notes that threat assessments should be considered vital tools to determine security risks.

"This area of risks assessment is both fundamental and crucial in responsibility managing both forms of biorisks," Dr. Marilou Elago, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at the Western Mindano State University, told

The symposium will also feature two speakers - Dan Lowe, a representative of the U.S. State Department Biosafety and Biosecurity Engagement Program and Dr. Chua Teck Mean, president of Asia-Pacific Biosafety and Biosecurity Association, based in Singapore.

The speakers, Elago said, will tackle issues including threats, response and preparedness as well as international partnerships for biosafety and biosecurity in Mindanao.

Approximately 300 participants are expected to take part in the symposium.