[PHOTO AT LEFT - Nikki Sandino Victoriano, a professional photographer based in Antipolo City, Philippines, won first place with his entry "Planting Bamboo.". For the SEARCA photo contest, his winning entry depicts a farmer propagating bamboo seedlings to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 29, 2009 (STAR) By Rudy S. Fernandez Two Filipinos have again won honors for the country.

Nikki Sandino Victoriano of Antipolo City won first prize in an Asian photography contest focused on climate change sponsored by a regional center of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).

Dionisio Salvador Jr. of Marikina City placed third in the same competition held under the auspices of the SEAMEO Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

Vinai Dithajohn of Thailand placed second.

The three entries were among 130 submitted by photography enthusiasts from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Bangladesh.

[PHOTO AT LEFT -Shows the 3rd prize photo by Dionisio Salvador, Jr. which  illustrates a community-based practice in Marikina City, Philippines.]

The contest, which ran from Aug. 3 to Oct. 30, had for its theme “Community-based Climate Change Adaptation: Best Practices in Southeast Asia.”

The winners received cash prizes and plaques of recognition at a program last Nov. 20 at SEARCA’s office at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) campus. The program marked the observance of the center’s 43rd anniversary.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, assisted by SEARCA director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. and UPLB chancellor Dr. Luis Rey Velasco, presented the awards to the winners.

Philippine government-hosted SEARCA is one of the 15 regional “centers of excellence” of SEAMEO, an inter-government treaty organization founded in 1965 to foster cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in the fields of education, science and culture.

Lapus is the Philippine representative to the SEAMEO Council, the body’s highest policymaking body composed of the education ministers of the 11 SEAMEO countries.

The SEARCA-sponsored photography contest was among the initial activities undertaken by the center’s new Knowledge Management Center on Climate Change (KC3).

KC3 aims to help people in the region understand the what’s and why’s of climate change and how it affects the agriculture and natural resources sectors. It will access knowledge situations to adopt and mitigate impacts of climate change; connect and empower Southeast Asian nations to act regionally vis-à-vis its impacts; and strengthen regional capacity through sharing of knowledge, pooling of database of experts and research and development work.

Victoriano’s entry, titled “Planting Bamboo,” depicts a farmer propagating bamboo seedlings to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. Bamboo, according to research, can absorb more water and thus rejuvenate degraded lands. Bamboo also helps in carbon sequestration and produces large biomass, enabling ground moisture conservation. 

[Photo at left - 2nd prize winner by Vinai Dithajohn from Bangkok, Thailand.]

Vinai’s photograph shows workers moving bags of sand to strengthen the frontal wall and flood defense barrier of Wat Chai Watthanaram, a Budhist temple along the storied Chao Phraya River in Thailand’s Ayutthaya province. A major tourist attraction, the site is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.

Salvador’s entry shows a bicycle lane in Marikina City. To raise the environmental awareness of its residents, the Marikina City government developed a bicycle lane to encourage the use of this environment-friendly (carbon dioxide-free) mode of transportation.

The photo competition’s board of judges was composed of Dr. Nicomedes Briones, Prof. Edmund Centeno, both of UPLB; and Joel Cardenas a freelance graphics artist.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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