By : Joselito Alonte Carteciano

On March 13, 2013, the National Research Council of the Philippines will mark its 80th General Membership Assembly (GMA) at Historic Manila Hotel – a kick off activity for the coming 80th Foundation Anniversary on 8 December 2013.  

The 80th GMA is expected to attract over 500 NRCP members who are researchers, scientists, and technologists from different parts of the Philippines.  They will discuss their plans and strategies to implement the new NRCP program AKBAY – Agham para sa Kaunlaran ng Bayan (Science for Nation’s Progress), which primarily aims to bring science and technology to the farthest parts of the Philippines and to the poorest communities.

Secretary of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Dr. Arsenio M. Balicasan will deliver a keynote address on the theme – Expanding the Reach of Science and Technology and expound on the pivotal role of science and technology (S&T) and the potential contributions of NRCP members to the success of the Philippine Development Plan 2011 – 2016. On the other hand, former Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr. will present research-based policy recommendations to enhance innovation and attain a more competitive standing for the Philippines.

The Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, Mario G. Montejo will also have a discourse on DOST’s recently launched program on “SMARTER Philippines” a mechanism to uplift the country through S&T.  This program uses ICT as the enabling tool to provide more efficient and reliable services in the priority areas for development.  “Smarter Philippines” involves integration of “smarter technologies” into DOST’s research and development programs for Smarter Government, Smarter People, Smarter Living, Smarter Environment, Smarter Mobility, Smarter Economy and.

This 80th annual scientific convention will also be highlighted with the recognition of the outstanding men and women in research from the 13 scientific disciplines including the social sciences and humanities.  They will be recognized for their outstanding research performance 2012.

NRCP was established 80 years ago through the passage of ACT 4120 by the 9th Philippine Legislature on 8 December 1933 primarily to promote and support research along various scientific disciplines.

Since then, NRCP remains steadfast on its mandates and continues to uphold research projects necessary for attainment of sustained economic growth and Filipinos’ well-being.  For eight decades now, the NRCP has been renowned for ground-breaking discoveries, knowledge generation and their applications to resolve problems of national concerns.  Among these are the selection of high grade rice strains; the genetic enhancement of the Philippine caribou; the determination of the physiology and tissue culture of the Philippine coconut and makapuno; the development of commercial uses of avocado oil; the introduction of biological pest control and rat control methods, which all effectively addressed the problems in the agriculture sector.

On the health front, noteworthy were: the laboratory and scientific protocols for diagnosis and early detection and prevention of cancer alongside with the cure and eradication of malaria; the use of Philippine herbs as source of alternative and low-cost medicine and cure – all were cost-effective contributions to the improvement of the delivery of health services particularly to the poor communities. In the early ‘70s NRCP supported the seminal work on cone snail venom research that eventually led to the discovery of many neuropeptides and the development of a very potent drug against pain.

On technological advancement, NRCP’s significant contributions were: the geographical mapping of the Philippine archipelago; the establishment of geothermal plants for alternative and natural source of energy; the development of dye laser, plasma device and transmission of digital data – all became vital components of country’s rapid and inclusive economic growth.

In 2012, DOST Secretary Montejo called the support of the NRCP Members in his quest to refocus all research efforts towards the attainment of new technologies, innovations, and discoveries relevant to sustainable inclusive development.

The NRCP Officers (President/National Scientist Lourdes J. Cruz, Vice-President/ Philippine Normal University President Ester B. Ogena, Secretary/UP Diliman Professor Irene Villasenor, and Treasurer/UP Los Banos Dean Marites Yee) and other members of the Governing Board will lead this momentous activity.