Profiles of Filipino Fisheries Scientists

Friday, June 30, 2006

Prof. Prudencia V. Conlu:

Ichthyologist Par Excellence


Melchor F. Cichon

Otolith, April-June 1995, p. 7.

Do you know that one of the most prominent ichthyologists in the Philippine is an Aklanon?

She is no other than Prof. Prudencia V. Conlu, a retired professor and former dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of the Philippines in the Visayas, Miag-ao, Iloilo.

She began as an instructor in ichthyology in the College in 1961 until she rose to the position of full professor in 1981. She also held various administrative positions in the CFOS the latest of which was as dean from 1992 to 1995.

Prof. Conlu was born in Ibajay, Aklan on April 27, 1930. She earned a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education, major in Biology in 1952 at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) in Manila. In 1957, she took a special training course in Marine Taxonomy (fishes) and Planktology as a UNESCO fellow at the Oceanographic Institute, Nhanrang, Vietnam. She obtained her Master of Science in Zoology degree at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia as a Colombo Plan Fellow in 1961. Again in 1964, Prof. Conlu became a UNESCO fellow in Advanced Courses in Marine Biology: Marine Invertebrates and Fish and Fisheries at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

As an ichthyologist, she was instrumental in the establishment of the College of Fisheries Museum and has written various scientific and technical papers including two landmark books on Philippine fishes. These are the Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna (Fishes), vol IX, published by NRMC, Ministry of Natural Resources and the University of the Philippines in 1986 and Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna (Fishes), vol 1, published by MNR-UPNSRC project funds, in 1982. Also, in recognition of her expertise in fisheries, she has been asked as external examiner for many graduate school theses of universities in the Philippines and abroad.

For her valued contributions for the development of fisheries and fisheries education in the Philippines, Prof. Conlu received 16 citations and awards from various organizations in the country. Some of these are the Likas Yaman Award given by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Pride of Heritage Award as Outstanding Educator of the International Press Research Development Progress. She was also the first to be given the Trident Award as the Most Outstanding College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Faculty by the UP Fisheries Guild of the UP in the Visayas.

She is a member of 19 national and internationally recognized learned societies, professional and scientific organizations like Phi Sigma Biological Honor Society Alpha Chi, Chapter of UP, the New York Academy of Science, and the American Society of Ichthyologist and Herpetologists.

Prof. Conlu retired from the government service one month after her 65th birthday last May 27, 1995. Her colleagues and those she had worked with will always remember her as the lady whose deep love for fishes was expressed through dedication and hard work in her chosen career.

Thursday, June 29, 2006



Melchor F. Cichon

The first time I met Dr. Rogelio Ochoa Juliano, or Roger to his colleagues, was in 1963. I was then a first year student of the College of Fisheries, U.P., Diliman, Quezon City. And I have thought that Dr. Juliano was a very cordial person. Later I discovered that my assessment about him was shared by many. This characteristic of Dr. Juliano has been recognized by no less than the Faculty and Staff of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (Iloilo campus) when they presented him a Plaque of Recognition on August 22, 1989. In this plaque, it is written “ in recognition of his contribution to the growth of the University, steering it towards the direction which he himself helped define; of the leader he has been, approachable, humble yet dignified and diplomatic, exemplying a person who considers his office not as an instrument of power but as a symbol of service; and while being a leader and administrator, he has always been , to everyone , a friend and a colleague.”( underscore supplied)

Through the years, I learned more about him as a professor , as an administrator and a scientist. Now I can say that Dr. Rogelio O. Juliano is productive, humble and a generous fisheries scientist and administrator U.P. has produced. Prof. Artemio M. Sarenas of the University of the East called him as a “promising luminary in biological sciences, particularly in the field of aquaculture.”

Dr. Juliano was born on May 11, 1934 in Los Baños, Laguna from a family of scholars. His father, Dr. Jose B. Juliano, was a professor of botany in U.P. Los Baños, Laguna. Two of his brothers, Drs. Jose O. Juliano and Bienvenido O. Juliano, were Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardees. The former is in nuclear science, while the latter is in Chemistry. The youngest brother, Dr. Petronio O. Juliano, now works as a vice-president of San Miguel Corporation.

He is married to his former classmate at U.P. Diliman, Prof. Araceli F. Lachica, a zoologist, with whom he has five boys and four girls.

After graduation from high school at Laguna Institute, Juliano did not know what to take up as career. His mother talked to Dr. Deogracias Villadolid and was advised to seek admission to the Philippine Institute of Fisheries Technology (PIFT) and from there decide what career to pursue. After graduation from PIFT with honors in 1952, he felt he needed at least a bachelor’s degree to seek better employment. He went to U.P., talked to Dr. Gregorio Velasques of Botany Department and Dr. Leopoldo Clemente of Zoology Department. Because of his father’s advice that there is no money in Botany and knowing he would obtain more advanced credit units in zoology, he majored in zoology.

The following year he served as a Student Research Assistant at UP Research Center. He then worked as a laborer and instructor of PIFT from 1954-1955. It was also in 1955 when he received his degree in B. S. Zoology, U.P. Immediately after that, 1955-57, he was a Stanford University Gold Star Scholar for his Master of Arts (Biology) degree. At the same time, he worked as a Research Assistant at the Natural Science Foundation, Stanford University. In that same period, he was an Elly Lilli Drug Company fellow in biological sciences, also in Stanford University. This was followed by a fellowship in agricultural sciences sponsored by Rockefeller Foundation.

In 1957, he was back in the Philippines. He worked as an Instuctor in Zoology at the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), U.P., Diliman from 1957 until 1963. In between these years, 1961, Dr. Juliano was a fellow of Rackman School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan. This time for his second masteral degree, Master of Science (Fisheries). He did not stay long at CAS, because in 1963, he was appointed as a faculty of the U.P. College of Fisheries. UNESCO awarded Dr. Juliano a fellowship in 1964 in Advanced Marine Biology Training at University of Copenhagen and Institute of Fisheries Research, Copenhagen, Denmark. This was followed by an observation tour to different institutions on hydrology and fisheries in Germany as a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Stipendum.

On December 17, 1977, Dr. Juliano received the Professional Achievement Award in the Field of Fisheries, U.P. Alumni Association at the Philippine Village Hotel, Metro Manila. He also received some citations and plaque of recognition for his achievements as a fisheries scientist. Among the citations he received is the citation in the Philippine Men of Science, vol. 2, 1967. For the plaques of recognition, he got one from the Citizens of Calamba, Laguna, for outstanding contributions in the field of science on June 19, 1974. On July 9,1993, he received a Certificate of Recognition for “invaluable contribution and relentless dedication as chief, Aquaculture Department, SEAFDEC from July, 1979-August , 1980”, from the Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, Tigbauan , Iloilo.

The contributions of Dr. Juliano in the field of science, particularly fisheries science, are numerous. But I will only highlight some of them.

Aside from being a professor of the College of Fisheries from 1963 until his retirement in 1989, he conducted numerous researches on fisheries and published several articles on fisheries in various journals and magazines here and abroad.

He authored or co-authored more than 50 scientific papers.

Some of these are : "Seasonal changes in bluegill metabolism,” Limnology and Oceanography 4(2);195-209 1959; “Air breathing in fishes,” Phi Sigma Science Bulletin, no. 4, 1959, pp. 8-10;
“Notes on the tolerance of milkfish fingerlings and fry, Chanos chanos (Forskal), to decreases in salinity,” Copeia, no. 1, 1953, pp. 180-181, senior author.; “Trimethylamine and volatile reducing substances in frigate mackerel(Auxis Thazard lapecede),” Philippine Journal of Science. He was the senior author of the famous pamphlet, Philippine Recommends for Bangus, 1976, which was published by PCARR .

In 1992, he became a member of the Auburn University Study Team which studied the prawn industry in the Philippines. The team’s report entitled Philippine Prawn Industry Policy Study , which came out in 1993, is considered as the most comprehensive study on prawn industry in the Philippines. Dr. Juliano’s dissertation, The Biology of Milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forskal), and Ecology and Dynamics of Brackishwater Ponds in the Philippines, 1985, can also be considered as a major contribution to the study of bangus. In 1997, he was working on the historical development of inland fisheries in the Philippines from 1897 to 1999. It is now included in a book entitled: 100 Years of Philippine Fisheries and Marine Science, edited by Rafael D. Guerrero II, published by the Department of Science and Technology, Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development, Los Banos, Laguna, 1998.

He has served as a consultant to and project leader on various fisheries projects here and abroad. He was an FAO National Consultant On Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries for the Second National Fisheries Workshop on Policy Planning and Industry Development wherein he wrote background papers on aquaculture and in inland fisheries. He also prepared and presented the strategic management plan for aquaculture/inland fisheries in its workshop in October 1995 to February 1996. In 1976-1978, Dr. Juliano was a consultant to the Philippine Fisheries Education and Training Plan. This project took stock of available educational facilities and capabilities, projected the manpower needs in fisheries and developed a plan for fisheries education/training which could be supported by the World Bank. This became the basis for World Bank support in fisheries education and training in the Philippines. The project was funded by the Ministry of Natural Resources and undertaken by the Educational Development Projects Implementing Task Force (EDPITAF).

He was the first Dean of the College of Fisheries, U.P. in the Visayas to have been appointed twice from 1970 to 1980, and from 1986 to 1987.

As dean, he was able to send several of his faculty members for a study grant abroad as part of the faculty development program of the College. The grants were sponsored by the USAID and the World Bank. Some of them are as follows: Dr. Arsenio S. Camacho, former UPV Chancellor; Dr. Romeo Fortes, formerly Vice-chancellor for Planning and Development, UPV; Dr. Edfren Ed. C. Flores, former dean of the College of Fisheries and former Chief of SEAFDEC-AQD; Dr. Leonor Santos, former Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs,UPV and now dean of the UPV College of Fisheries; Dr. Carlos Baylon, now Director,IFPDS,UPV; Dr. Arnulfo Marasigan, former Director, IA,UPV; Dr. Leonarda Mendoza, present director of IFPT,UPV; Dr. Gaudiosa Almazan-Gonzales, former Secretary, College of Fisheries, UPV; Drs. Armando Tamse, Rodolfo Baldevarona, Liberato Laureta; Erlinda B. Panggat, Crispino Saclauso, Yvonne Chiu, Reynaldo Silvestre and Prof. Nygiel Armada. Prof. Armada was a former Vice-Chancellor for Administration, UPV.

But he forgot himself.

While his faculty members had already earned their respective doctoral degrees, he was still a MS degree holder. It was only in the late 1985 when he earned his PhD degree from the University of Tokyo, Japan under the sponsorship of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

It was during his term as Dean of the College when the plan to establish an autonomous university in the Visayas within the UP System with the College of Fisheries as its flagship college took place. He worked closely with Dr. Dionecia A. Rola, then dean of the UP College in Iloilo for the realization of this plan.

When the UP in the Visayas became a reality, he was appointed as Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Development, while Dr. Rola became the Chancellor. On May 1, 1987, he succeeded Dr. Rola as Chancellor of UPV until August 28, 1989.

It was during his term as chancellor of UPV when the UPV College of Fisheries students, faculty, and staff protested against the transfer of UPV CF from Diliman, Quezon City to Miag-ao, Iloilo. But with strong determination to transfer to Miag-ao, the protest bugged down and in 1988, the College of Fisheries transferred to the 800-hectare campus in Miag-ao, Iloilo. Those who did not like the idea had two options: either to stick with UPV-CF or transfer to other UP units. Many remained with UPV-CF, but some transferred later to other UP units in Diliman, Quezon City.

Aside from these major accomplishments, Dr. Juliano served as a member of the Governing Board, Regional Center for Tropical Biology, SEAMEO, Bogor, Indonesia, and Member of Technical Program Planning and Review Board (TPPRB), PCARR, 1975. He was also a member of the Technical Board of the Fishery Industry Development Council. From March 8, 1971 to June 30, 1977, Dr. Juliano was the project Director of the Inland Fisheries Project (NSDB Project no 7103 Ag) with two centers: the Brackishwater Aquaculture Center, Leganes, Iloilo and the Freshwater Aquaculture Center, Central Luzon State University, Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. Both centers produced numerous researches on aquaculture. He also served as Chief of SEAFDEC-AQD from 1979 to 1980.

Dr. Juliano is a member of 21 learned, professional, and honor organizations. Among which are the University of the Philippines Zoological Society; Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science; Phycological Society of the Philippines; Society of the Sigma Xi, Stanford University Chapter; American Fisheries Society; American Society of Limnology and Oceanography; Marine Biological Society of India; National Research Council of the Philippines; and Philippine Association for the Advancement of Scientific Information Communication.

Dr. Juliano is very much concerned on the fishery education in the country. So whenever he has a chance to expose his views on the matter, he would always points out what should be done to improve this problem. According to him, fisheries education is beset with so many problems. That is the reason why the country is not producing high caliber fisheries graduates who can lead in the development of our fishery resources. Some of these problems, which Dr. Juliano has cited, are as follows:

1. There are too many fisheries schools in the Philippines. To date, there are 33 state colleges and universities offering fisheries degrees; 13 tertiary schools (higher technical-vocational school); 28 secondary schools (technical-vocational). Because of this, there is a mismatch of fisheries graduates and employment. Aside from that, because of too many schools to finance, there is insufficient fund to support faculty development; physical expansion; library and multi-media development, and other important needs of the schools. To upset this problem, Dr. Juliano suggests the stopping of the conversion of secondary fisheries schools to tertiary level and adopt a flagship model contained in the National Agricultural Education System. With this concept, the government will select a number of secondary and tertiary schools and which will be fully supported by the government. These institutions will eventually produce top caliber and well-rounded fisheries graduates. They in turn will lead in the development of fisheries in the country.

2. “Fisheries as a career is not as attractive and glamorous as the other professions such as law, medicine, or commerce. The opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship are not well known to the people except for the people in the fisheries industry. The over-supply of below standard graduates from many schools of fisheries who are unemployed and neither involved in fisheries, makes fisheries a hopeless career to the eyes of others.” To solve this problem, Dr. Juliano suggests that fisheries curriculum should be revised to expose students more to actual industry/field experiences, especially in the undergraduate level. He also suggests that “fisheries as a career should be government-regulated profession as a means of forcing fisheries schools to upgrade their standard. Passing a board examination prior to being allowed to practice fisheries profession can be required, like in the medical technology and veterinary professions. This will eliminate substandard schools if their graduates can not pass the board examination and can not obtain employment.” The professionalization of fisheries career is now incorporated in Section 115 of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (RA 8550). Although this law stipulates that the first Board Examination for B.S. Fisheries shall be conducted within one year from the date of approval of this Code, but so far no such examination has been conducted. The Code was approved on February 25, 1998.

3. Most of the reading materials used for fisheries courses are temperate and western oriented, hence many of the examples given are not relevant to the actual needs of the Filipino students. To combat this, fisheries textbooks should be written by Filipinos using tropical fisheries principles and with Philippine examples.

4. Since sending people abroad for a doctoral degree in fisheries is very expensive, Dr. Juliano suggests that UP in the Visayas should develop its PhD program in fisheries to strengthen its manpower base for research and education. At present, the UPV College of Fisheries is offering a PhD in Aquaculture.

The last time I met Dr. Juliano was in 1997. At that time, he told me he was jobless. I know of course that he was very busy with his consultancy works. He is the Executive Director and Member/Secretary, Board of Trustees of Coastal Management Center, a non-stock, non-profit organization. It is located in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

That’s Dr. Rogelio O. Juliano, the generous achiever.

Guerrero, Rafael D. III. 1998. 100 years of Philippines Fisheries and Marine Science. Los Banos, Laguna, Department of Science and Technology, Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development. 210p.

Juliano, Rogelio O. 1996. “Fisheries Education in the Philippines: History, Status, problems, Needs and Recommendations for Changes.” In: Fortes, R. D. and L. C. Catedrilla, eds. Philippine Fisheries policy: towards Sustainable Development of Fisheries Resources. (Proceedings of the National Seminar-Workshop on the Evaluation and Review of Philippine Fisheries Policy, September 27-28, 1993, ISMED, UP Diliman, Quezon City). Miag-ao, Iloilo: UP Visayas, pp. 101-12.

Juliano, Rogelio. 1997. “Curriculum Vitae”. 20p.

Personal Interview with Dr. R. O. Juliano, October 17, 1997.

Sarenas, Artemio. 1973. “Introduction of the Guest Lecturer: Dean Rogelio O. Juliano.” In: The Dr. Gregorio T.

Velasquez Lecture Series, 1972-1975: Challenge to Biologists in the 70s: the Escalation of foodproduction, ed. By Magdalena Cantoria. Quezon City: National Research Council of the Philippines, pp. 51-53.