Dr. Romeo F. Quijano was a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila for 39 years until his retirement in 2014. He is currently a member of the Steering Council of Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP) and president of PAN Philippines, board member of the Institute for Occupational Safety, Health and Development (IOHSAD), member of the Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology, and chairman emeritus of Health Action for Human Rights.
Dr. Quijano has worked with various public-interest and community based NGOs and mass organizations in public awareness campaigns about the health and environmental hazards of toxic chemicals. As a toxicologist, he has also been involved in various government-initiated health investigations and services in various toxic hot spots and disaster areas in the Philippines.
Dr. Quijano has documented and publicized the health and environmental effects of pesticides in the Philippines and other countries, and has served as the main technical resource person in trainings, conferences and fact-finding missions here and abroad. He has led campaigns to increase public awareness on the dangers of hazardous pesticides, especially aerial spraying in banana and oil palm plantations in Mindanao. For his pursuit of science in public interest even under fierce attack by those in power and with vested interests, Dr. Quijano was given the Jennifer Altman Foundation (USA) award in 2005.
From 1998 until 2008, Dr. Quijano served as the worldwide representative of public interest NGOs in the Standing Committee of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS). For his meaningful contributions, he was given the Presidential Recognition Award in 2006 by the IFCS. He also served as the Southern Co-Chair of the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) from 1998 until 2006. IPEN played a critical role in shaping the first treaty to ban the world’s most dangerous chemicals –the Stockholm Convention. Dr. Quijano played a key role in the long but successful campaign to have the very toxic pesticide endosulfan banned globally under the POPs treaty. Dr. Quijano also represented public interest NGOs as a Bureau Member at the UN sponsored IAASTD (International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology), which held marathon meetings from 2004 to 2008 and which finally came-up with reports calling for a radical transformation of the world’s food and agricultural system, practices, institutions and policies.
Dr. Quijano has also done several scientific studies in pharmacology and was an active participant in the campaign for a National Drug Policy and Generics Law in the Philippines. He was a member of the advisory council of Health Action International Asia Pacific and was active in the national, regional and international campaign for rational drug use. He was also a delegate and speaker at the 2nd International People’s Health Assembly and at the First Session of the International People’s Health University.
Dr. Quijano has also been a project leader of the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP) since 1982 and was awarded the Presidential Lingkod Bayan (Service to the Country Award) in 1987 for significant researches on medicinal plants. In 2009, Dr. Quijano also received the Outstanding Community Service Award given by the University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society (UPMAS).
He also served as the chairperson of the Health Alliance of Democracy and Medical Action Group.
For the past 10 years or so, Dr. Quijano has been operating small organic farms in Mindanao where he grows organic sugarcane, banana, coconut, cacao, coffee, marang, durian, and various medicinal plants. He also established a community-based herbal medicine processing center which provides affordable herbal medicines to alternative medicine practitioners, community members, NGO network partners and others.