By virtue of Malacañang Proclamation No. 783 signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on June 6, 2014, Academician Ramon C. Barba was conferred the Rank and Title of National Scientist for his distinguished achievements in the field of plant physiology, focusing on induction of flowering of mango and on micropropagation of important crop species that have earned him national and international accolades.
His pioneering work on the induction of flowering and fruiting of mango resulted in the change from seasonal supply of fresh fruits to all year round availability of abundant fresh mangoes. The regularity of mango production is the key ingredient in the development of mango exports which gave rise to an entirely new industry of processed mango products. He developed the plant growth enhancer, FLUSH, which accelerates the growth cycle of the trees and advance their flowering and fruiting stages, to assure continuous fruit bearing of mango trees. The discovery assured regular or controlled flowering of mango trees and in many dry areas like Cebu and Guimaras, hence, the flowering period for the whole country was not just confined to March and April but has extended to several months, assuring a supply of mangoes throughout the year.
This mango induction technology was patented not only in the Philippines but also in other countries, such as USA, England, Australia and New Zealand. He did not collect any royalty from the patent so that ordinary farmers can freely use the technology. Nowadays, many mango producing countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Australia have adopted the technology for their mango production. Furthermore, this technology has been successfully applied on other fruit trees including cashew.
His outstanding works on plant micropropagation led major changes in the production schemes of several important crops. He and his team at the Institute of Plant Breeding developed the tissue culture protocol for banana in order to produce large quantities of planting materials that are robust and disease-free, allowing for annual replanting, which brought major shift in banana production system, now a standard practice in large farms not only in the Philippines but also in other countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He also established the tissue culture protocol for sugar cane that made possible the rapid production of large quantities of disease-free planting materials. This becomes the standard practice in disease cleaning of sugar cane varieties. Tissue culture of sugar cane has become an integral part of sugar cane agriculture worldwide.
Through Malacañang Proclamation No. 782 dated June 6, 2014, President Benigno S. Aquino conferred on Academician Angel C. Alcala the Rank and Title of National Scientist in recognition of his outstanding contributions to society, specifically his seminal and original research on the systematic, ecology, and diversity of Philippine amphibians and reptiles, and, marine biodiversity, reef fishes and conservation (marine-protected areas).
His studies on and advocacy of marine no-take zones led to a national policy and program that established no-take marine protective areas which has resulted in more than a thousand of such marine no-take zones in the country and has become a model of coastal resource management and conservation adopted by many countries. No-take marine reserves allows the build-up of marine biodiversity including fishery species as well as export of adult fish to areas (outside of MPAs) used as fishing areas, thereby enhancing fish yields of fishers.
He spent his professional life as an academic leader,an institution builder, and a public administrator.He was appointed as president of the Silliman University,here he helped institutionalize scientific research on marine biology and marine conservation. Dr. Alcala was appointed to two important positions in the Fidel V. Ramos Cabinet; he served as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources from 1992 to 1995 and later as Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education from 1995 to 1999, with probity, integrity, and transparency.
The National Academy of Science and Technology, in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology Region 6 organized the Regional Seminar Workshop on Research Upgrading and Performance Evaluation in Iloilo City last May 22 and 23, 2014. It was attended by researchers and research administrators in the region. The workshop is part of the DOST-funded NAST PHL Project entitled “Evaluation and Improvement of the Research Publication and IP Productivity of the DOST R&D Institutes.” The workshop aims to gather research and development stakeholders to create points of action for region-based research and development initiatives. Through the workshop, various research and development opportunities were discussed.
Director Rowen R. Gelonga of DOST Region 6 welcomed the participants and underscored the importance of enabling researchers to develop technologies that will benefit commercial initiatives. Further, Director Gelonga stressed that collaboration amongst the region’s researchers is vital for inclusive growth and development.
The current thrust of DOST is to provide science-based tools for socio-economic development; in this sense, the need for better research and technology generation poses a challenge for local researchers.
NAST PHL Director, Ms. Luningning E. Samarita-Domingo gave the background of the project along with the workshop objectives. The participants were encouraged to actively participate in the various workshop activities. In alignment with the DOST Research and Development Research Agenda, the workshop outputs are to be used to create both the regional and national research and development action plans. Director Domingo also discussed the various opportunities available through the programs and projects being implemented by the Academy.