SEARCA honors 5 outstanding Filipino alumni

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A Filipino United Nations global manager and a Filipino microfinance program founder are among five Filipinos topping the list of 10 oustanding scholarship alumni of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), the multinational research organization announced.

Dr. Delfin J. Ganapin, global manager of the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Global Environment Facility-Small Grants Program (GEF-SGP), and Dr. Generoso G. Octavio, who founded microfinance program Ahon sa Hirap Inc (ASHI) were the top awardees.

SEARCA extended a scholarship for Ganapin’s MS in Forest Biological Sciences at the University of the Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB) and Octavio’s MS Agricultural Economics, UPLB.

Ganapin grew fund of the GEF-SGP from less than $50 million to around $200 million on average for every four-year phase. He expanded its reach from 54 participating countries to more than 100 country programs, making it the biggest program of the GEF for community and civil society, SEARCA noted.

As of 2016, the GEF has funded more than 24,000 community and civil society projects in environmental protection and the conservation of productive landscapes and seascapes worldwide, according to the agency’s website.

Octavio’s ASHI is a non-government organization that replicates the Grameen Bank approach in the Philippines. Now on its 25th year, ASHI has helped more than 37,000 families who are mostly living in remote areas. ASHI’s total loan portfolio has reached P491,097,959. Retention rate has been maintained at 94 percent in the past five years and the repayment rate at 98 percent.

Dr. Naomi Tangonan (PhD, Plant Pathology, 1984, UPLB), Dr. Lucrecio L. Rebugio (PhD Community Development, 1977, UPLB), Dr. Segfredo R. Serrano (PhD Agricultural Economics, 1988, UPLB) joined Ganapin and Octavio among the outstanding SEARCA alumni. Others honored by the research center included scholars from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

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