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A. V. Valerio, Vice-President, TUCP Manila Standard, Opinion Section B dated Thursday June 11, 1998

I am glad that Atty. Raoul Dizon, Columnist of the Business Daily, wrote about Dr. Luciano Talens, the UP Los Banos-based scientist given by the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) a "Balik-Scientist Award" to develop our own FMD vaccine. I have been fortunate to have met this brilliant scientist myself.

Dr. Talen's case is revealing and instructive to all those who ask the question: "Why is it that despite our talents, we cannot seem to succeed as we should?". It involves the same old story of some of our government officials again, not  knowing how to act as a team. If they do not fight, they withdraw their cooperation from one another, frustrating the good efforts begun by the other departments.

This is clear in the case of Dr. Talens, for example, considering that the FMD vaccine being developed, or rather already developed by Dr. Talens under the DoST Balik-Scientist Award is good for our livestock industry, why did not the Bureau of Animal Industry, whose mandate is to improve precisely that industry, try their best to help Dr. Talens achieve his objective, instead of "throwing the book" at him?

Let us not talk about the millions of pesos that the DoST have already sunk in this project. Let us just talk of our countrymen being able to develop our own vaccines which our swine and cattle farmers all over the country can buy at low cost and use to effectively treat and prevent the FMD disease.

The President should order an immediate investigation of this incident to see if there is more to the insistence of the Bureau of Animal Industry that Dr. Talens and his government laboratory did not adhere to the legal requirements. Let us find dout if there are officials in the Bureau of Animal Industry, or the Department of Agriculture itself, who have allowed themselves to be used as puppets by external interests who do not want us to produce products that compete with theirs. Because if there are,, that will be treason.

Dr. Luciano Talens is lucky to have a counsel like Atty. Dizon who is not only competent, buyt one who has a sicere heart for the country. But it is not enough for our scientist to have champions like him. They must organize, not just to ensure that they get ehir due shrare from their scientific researches, but more so, to push for the punishment of government officials whose improper uyse, or worse, abuse of authority makes the failure of our development efforts a certainty.

President-elect Joseph Estrada has made it know that the promotion of science and technology and protection of our scientists is an important part of his 10-point program of government. He should be very interested in the case of Dr. Luciano Talens.

A.V. Valerio, Vice President, TUCP, Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City,                                                                                




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