In my first week as President of PPS, I requested for the PPS constitution and by-laws from Dr. Dory Dizon to study its purpose and objectives and the duties and responsibilities of each officers. From these, I based the PPS program plan for the year. I learned that PPS presidency is more than giving appointments to committee members, supporting a scholar, having connection to Plant Pathology societies abroad and discussing the next project and the coming PMCP convention activities. PPS was founded on the ideals of providing information and knowledge on the latest developments and research advances in plant diseases and disease management to its members, farmers, and other interested individuals through paper publications, fora, trainings for members and other interested persons, and especially, reaching the farmers to help them solve their crops' disease and pest problems. To make this happen, it requires commitment, cooperation and selflessness among the officers and members of PPS. Without these traits, excuses to let the mission undone will always be justified. Consequently, abilities and talents become futile. But it is noteworthy that this year, many of the officers and members of the Board of Directors of PPS have these characters. They sacrificed their time, money, and effort in making this year's advocacy of PPS to come about. You know who you are dear PPS BOD members and I salute and thank you!
During the first meeting of the 2008-2009 PPS Board of Directors, I presented the PPS program plans. Fortunately, Mr. Ceferino Baniqued and Dr. Mario San Juan (the bedrocks of PPS) visited us on that day and we were all grateful for their desire to support the society with their counsel and even on financial matters.
Based on the objectives of PPS, that 1) we will promote the application of scientific knowledge in the field of disease management and dissemination of the same to the farmers and other interested persons and that 2) we will encourage the interchange of technical information, scientific knowledge, and ideas among members, we had the following accomplishments for 2008-2009:
1. Implemented the project plan last year which we called "Plant Doctors on Wheels". Our aim was to help the farmers of Laguna in solving their crop's disease problem through collaboration with Provincial Agricultural Office of Laguna and some identified baranggay captains whose farmer constituents need our assistance. During the first PMCP meeting, I presented our intention to hold farmers' forum, pest clinic, and seminar on crop diseases and management in different baranggays of Laguna and later on to other regions. Everyone accepted this idea and it was agreed that it will be a concerted effort of everybody (PPS, PAE, WSSP, and other PMCP member organizations). PMCP took charge of the travel fund and miscellaneous expenses for this activity. PPS spearheaded and coordinated two Farmers' Fora in Bayog, Los Baños, Laguna (with 35 farmers) and San Benito, Victoria, Laguna (with 48 farmers) in November 26, 2008 and in February 4, 2009, respectively. In both fora, it was very clear that most farmers were not aware of the proper use of pesticides and fungicides. Seemingly, farmers were not conscious of the dangers of careless disposal of the chemical bottles along the street, specifically in San Benito, Victoria as observed on our way home after the forum. This was discussed during the PMCP meeting and all agreed that the team should return to that baranggay to further educate the
farmers in handling pesticides. In Victoria, the group identified gummy stem blight as the primary cause of the death of thousands of honey dew and watermelon plants which were at their early reproductive stage. Proper cultural practices were recommended to farmers to minimize further damage.
2. Held trainings on Banana Virus indexing using ELISA in June 2008 and "Plant Disease Diagnostics" for a more reliable and accurate disease detection and identification in March 25-27, 2009. Three modules of the training on Plant Disease Diagnostics were simultaneously held (Serological techniques, Identification and management of plant nematodes and Seed health testing), which were participated by trainees from both public and private companies. Some of them were motivated to become members of PPS and so, we had an oath-taking for the new PPS members at the closing ceremony.
Publication of four Compendia on Major Diseases of Important Food and Biofuel Crops in the Philippines was another plan of the Board of Directors. Officers and PPS members were assigned to do the write ups based on their expertise following a standard format with Dr. Lily Ann D. Lando as the Editor. Some authors have already submitted their articles to Dr. Lando. Fund was requested from DA-BAR, PMCPFI and other institutions for documentation and printing costs.
Volume 43 of our Journal of Tropical Plant Pathology (2007 issue) was already released for circulation by our editor, Dr. Christian Joseph R. Cumagun. But volume 44 is not yet complete due to deficiency in research papers submitted for publication. In the 2007 President's Report of Dr. Cumagun, he emphasized that we should aim to make our journal accredited by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) to elevate its status to an international or Asian setting. This desire and passion must be passed
on and must sink in to the members to motivate everyone to contribute research papers required for the regular issue of the journal. on and must sink in to the members to motivate everyone to contribute research papers required for the regular issue of the journal.
Although communications now-a-days are so easy, we could hardly receive response or news from different PPS Regional Divisions, seemingly because of their busyness or focus on other important matters. But, I am grateful for the intention of many members to attend the annual convention despite the economic crisis that we often hear.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sustaining associates namely: Leads Agri, Arysta LifeScience Phils., Inc., Dow Agro, DuPont, Syngenta, Kemistar, and Bayer Crop Science for their continuous financial support that keeps our journal and other activities going.
As gratitude, a special mention is given to a colleague in Plant Pathology and a PPS member, Director Cesar Rodriguez of DA- CAR in supporting our fellowship night dinner.
Finally, it is my ardent hope and prayer to our Almighty God that PPS will continue to be a better, credible, and respectable association composed of men and women of integrity that will make an impact in Agricultural Science through viable technologies and research outputs that will benefit the farmers and the nation as well.
CECILIA B. PASCUAL