National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines

The country's premier recognition and advisory body on Science and Technology

Confernment of the newly-elected Corresponding Member, Dr.Josefino C. Comiso
L-R: NAST Acting President Acd. Fabian M. Dayrit, DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technological Services Dr. Carol C. Yorobe, Dr. Josefino C. Comiso and his wife Diana J. Comiso, Acd. Jaime C. Montoya
Policy Forum on Federalism in the Philippine Context
Dr. Magno explained a “Federalist Design Philippines” in the context of culture, politics, and economic conditions of the country.
Policy Forum on Federalism in the Philippine Context
Dr. Mendoza explained the rationale of decentralization bought about by federalism, which is seen as part of democratizing of the country and bringing governance closer to the people.
Policy Forum on Bataan Nuclear Power Plant: What is its Future?
Engr. Carlos M. Villaraza mainly focused his talk on various analyses to aid in evaluating the state of BNPP such as hazard-risk-vulnerability analysis, response spectrum analysis, and nonlinear time-history analysis. He explained that hazard-risk-vulnerability analysis aims to aid people to make risk-based choices to attend to vulnerabilities, mitigate hazards, and prepare for response to and recover from any hazard events.
Policy Forum on Bataan Nuclear Power Plant: What is its Future?
Acd. Alfredo Francisco Mahar As. Lagmay, member of MPSD and professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, gave his lecture entitled, “Geological hazards of SW Natib Volcano, site of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the Philippines.
Policy Forum on Bataan Nuclear Power Plant: What is its Future?
Dr. Bartolome C. Bautista, deputy director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), explained the current hazards information around the BNPP site.
NAST-CMU Seminar on “Why Rice is Not Good For You?”
Tree Planting in Commemoration of National Scientists
NAST PHL held a tree planting in Commemoration of the National Scientists last November 15, as part of the year-long celebration of its 40th Anniversary with the theme “40 Years in Pursuit of Excellence”
National Scientist Bienvenido Nebres, S.J. met Pope Francis during the Jesuits’ 36th General Congregation held in Rome on October 24, 2016
InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) for Health Workshop on Addressing Inequities in Health: Fostering Action on Social Determinants on October 3-4, 2016 at The Manila Hotel
The organizing committee of the workshop: (L-R) Dr. Carlo Irwin A. Panelo, Dr. Mario C. Villaverde, Dr. Fely Marilyn E. Lorenzo, National Scientist Ernesto O. Domingo, Academician Carmencita D. Padilla, and Dr. Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno III
InterAcademy Partnership (IAPdres) for Health Workshop on Adsing Inequities in Health: Fostering Action on Social Determinants on October 3-4, 2016 at The Manila Hotel
Representatives from the academe, medical institutions, government, and national academies of science and medicine in the ASEAN region participated in the two-day workshop.
AASSA-NAST PHL Workshop on the Role of Science Academies on Sustainable Development
The country’s renowned plant physiologist, National Scientist Benito S. Vergara passed away on October 24, 2015 at the age of 81. The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST, PHL), joins the scientific community in mourning the demise of NS Vergara. He was recognized for his scientific and technological achievements in the physiology of rice — its flowering response to photoperiod, deepwater physiology, flood tolerance, cold tolerance, ratooning, growth and development, rice herbage, UV-B and yield potential, from his researches conducted at the International Rice Reseach Institute (IRRI).   His seminal work on the physiology of deepwater rice and flood tolerance in the rice plant resulted in the development of screening procedures for flood tolerance, which has been adopted by national breeding programs leading to the identification of parent materials with excellent flood tolerance.

NS Vergara’s extensive work on the flowering response of rice to photoperiod, was applied to upgrade rice varieties. He helped develop different screening techniques for cold tolerance at different stages of the rice life cycle. Through such methods, cold tolerant rice cultivars were identified and were used as parent materials in national breeding programs, an important contribution to Philippine agriculture. He also developed and streamlined a breeding methodology known as the “Rapid Generation Advance” to improve varieties of rice planted in cold areas. The technique is now used by many national breeding programs. He conceptualized a model for an even higher yielding rice – the so-called “super rice” based on a new ideotype with the correct panicle morphology, grain development and low tillering habit as key components. He and his group pioneered research on the possible effects of ozone depletion in the atmosphere on the growth, development and yield of rice.

He was recognized by former President Gloria Arroyo for his groundbreaking research efforts on the growth duration, rationing, tillering, flowering, and gain yield of rice, which established the parameters for the blue prints for two successive models of high-yielding rice plant type.  He popularized the scientific basis of modern way of growing rice, which was circulated around the world.
During his last years at IRRI, Dr. Vergara conceptualized, designed and pushed for the establishment of the Riceworld Museum and Learning Center which was inaugurated in 1994. He was also instrumental in designing and putting together the NAST Philippine Science Heritage Center (PSHC) or Salinlahi, which focuses on the scientific and technological achievements of Filipino scientists.

In addition to his more than 100 scientific publications, NS Vergara wrote a book “A Farmer's Primer on Growing Rice”, which has more than 50 editions and 50 translations. The book discusses the essence of scientific knowledge on rice production that ordinary farmers could understand. As Visiting Professor at UP Los Baños, he mentored 17 MS and 14 PhD students in agronomy and botany as well as trained many scholars from rice growing countries all over the world.

NS Vergara received numerous awards, among which were the BIOTA Achievement Award and the Pro Patria Award (1980), Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy (1986), and Honorary Scientist from the Republic of Korea (1998).

For his significant contributions in plant physiology studies in the country, he was elected member by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) in 1987 and was conferred the rank and title of National Scientist in 2001 by the Philippine president.

He obtained his BS in Botany from the University of the Philippines (1955), MS in Botany from the University of Hawaii (1959), and PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Chicago in 1960.

At IRRI, Dr. Vergara served as Plant Physiologist and later as Director for Administration until he retired in 1996.. Upon retirement, he shifted his work to ornamental plants and fruit trees and the expansion of the Salinlahi.

Necrological service in honor of National Scientist Benito S. Vergara was held at the Department of Science and Technology front lobby on October 29, 2015.