2024 GO Ocfemia Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award

Dr. Robelyn T. Piamonte, Head of the Department of Pest Management (DPM) and Head of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (PDDL) is a recipient of the 2024 Gerardo O. Ocfemia Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award in Instruction by the Philippine Phytopathological Society, Inc. (PPS).

This prestigious award is given by PPS to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of plant pathology be it in research, instruction, extension and community development, and business practice categories.

PPS is a non-profit organization established on May 11, 1963, through a gathering of plant pathologists at the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Agriculture. The Association is under the Pest Management Council of the Philippines, Inc. (PMCP).

They conceptualized this award in honor of Dr. Gerardo O. Ocfemia, the “Father of Plant Pathology” in the Philippines.

According to Dr. Piamonte, after her nomination for the G.O. Ocfemia Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award in Instruction, she did not expect to qualify and get the award.

The mechanics of the search for the G.O. Ocfemia Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award in Instruction include active in the teaching profession including the list of courses taught and the number of advisees who graduated and being advised (30%); teaching evaluation including rating and testimonies of students (20%); instructional materials developed (30%); and previous instruction or teaching award received including best thesis award by advisees (20%).

Dr. Piamonte has shown dedication to teaching and advising which is also reflected in her consistent outstanding rating in the teaching performance evaluation of the university.

Aside from teaching, Dr. Piamonte is also an affiliate plant pathologist of the National Abaca Research Center (NARC) where she screened the abaca germplasm accessions or hybrid lines for resistance against the abaca bunchy top viruses, the virus that wiped out plantations of abaca in the region.

“She has significantly contributed to the field of Plant Pathology at VSU’s Department of Pest Management creating valuable instructional materials including Learning Guides for Plant Virology (Introductory and Advanced) and General Plant Pathology, syllabi, and a laboratory manual. Dr. Piamonte leads the Department of Pest Management with distinction, actively engaging in both research and extension activities. Her leadership extends to the National Abaca Research Center at VSU, where she has previously held the position of director, demonstrating her ability to handle high-level responsibilities,” the citation reads.

For Dr. Piamonte, her award signifies not a mere recognition but a responsibility to continue doing more, especially since she has seen how important plant pathology is in agriculture. 

She also pointed out that only a few students are taking plant pathology as their specialization. As the department head, it is a challenge for them to encourage Viscans to pursue the said field. 

The DPM Head will be awarded on June 28, 2024, during the Banquet Night of the PMCP 56th Anniversary and Annual Scientific Conference at La Carmela de Boracay, where they are also requested to present a paper highlighting the role of plant pathology in the category where they are chosen as award recipients.

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