ALONG with Faculty of Engineering professor Carmela Centeno and Assistant to the Rector for Research and Development Fortunato Sevilla III, the late Thomasian journalist Jose “Joe” Burgos was hailed by the Department of Science and Technology as one of the 50 great men and women of science last June 9.

Burgos was posthumously awarded for raising national consciousness on the importance of rice and food security through science-based farm methods and environmental conservation.

Burgos’s wife Edith said her husband’s advocacy stemmed from his desire to improve the lives of farmers through journalism.

After the fall of the Marcos regime in 1988, Burgos and his wife decided to leave Malaya, the national daily that he had founded, and transferred to Bulacan to live as farmers. By attending seminars and workshops, Burgos was able to learn natural means of improving crop yield through biotechnology, the use of scientific and modern technology in the field of life science.

“Realizing its benefits, he started to popularize biotechnology by featuring it in his radio program aired in DZMM and Radio Veritas while simultaneously publishing his articles in major dailies such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer,” Edith recalled.

A former Varsitarian staffer, Joe Burgos was also one of the 50 World Press Freedom Heroes awarded by the International Press Institute in 2000. In honor of his contributions to biotechnology, the “Jose G. Burgos Jr. Award for Biotech Journalism” was organized by the Biotechnology for Life Media and Advocacy Resource Center. This award aims to recognize journalists who excel in their quest for truth and help push the frontiers of scientific inquiry especially in biotechnology.

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“He would have been very honored not only as one of the 50 men and women of science, but also by being the initiator in the advancement of the lives of Filipino farmers,” Edith told the Varsitarian. With reports from Arian Anderson R. Rabino

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