The Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Scientific Career System under its recognition program, conferred the Scientist rank to thirteen (13) new researchers and upgraded the rank of four (4) career scientists. The SCS held its 2022 Oath-Taking of the Newly Conferred and Upgraded Scientists on September 22, 2022, at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Eastwood Avenue, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, and was streamed on SCS FB Page. The Oath Taking was co-hosted by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL).
The newly conferred and upgraded scientists were sworn in by the Scientific Career Council (SCC) Chair Atty. Karlo A. B. Nogrlaes of the CSC and Co-Chair Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr. of the DOST. Members of the Council include NAST PHL President Academician Rhodora V. Azanza, University of the Philippines President Atty. Danilo L. Concepcion represented by Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Executive Secretary and Director of NAST PHL, Ms. Luningning E. Samarita-Domingo, Special Technical Committee (STC) – Natural Sciences Division (NSD) Chair, Academician Fabian M. Dayrit, and STC-Agricultural Sciences Division Chair (ASD), Academician Eufemio T. Rasco, Jr.
The 2022 Newly Conferred and Upgraded Career Scientist with the Scientific Career Council (SCC) and Special Technical Committee (STC) Chair (Second row from left): Acd. Fabian M. Dayrit, Acd. Eufemio T. Rasco, Jr., Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta, Dr. Chitho P. Feliciano, Acd. Rhodora V. Azanza, Dr. Maria Corazon A. De Ungria, DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr., CSC Chairperson Atty. Karlo A. B. Nograles, Dr. Evelyn F. Delfin, Ms. Rosaly V. Manaois, Dr. Riza G. Abilgos-Ramos, Ms. Maria Luisa D. Guevarra, Dr. Angel T. Bautista VII; (First row from left) Dr. Marvin A. Villanueva, Dr. Maria Theresa M. Mutia, Dr. Lucille Elna P. De Guzman, Dr. Lourdes D. Taylo, Dr. Nelly S. Aggangan, Ms. Marcela M. Navasero, Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, Dr. Marilyn Q. Quimado, Dr. Leila D. Landicho, and Dr. Casiano H. Choresca, Jr. (Photo by Ms. Harlene May Viesca, UPLB)
The newly conferred and upgraded Scientists are as follows:
Dr. Riza G. Abilgos-Ramos, Scientist I from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), pioneered research projects and studies related to nutrition, health, and wellness; consumer-centric product development and value-adding enterprise for Rice Business Innovation Program (Rice BIS); measurement of secondary metabolites for rice stemborer resistance, and market studies to guide product developers, among others at PhilRice. She was recognized as Distinguished Alumna of UPLB in 2014, as an International Fellowship Program Alumni Awardee in 2015 of the Ford Foundation Institute of International Education, and as Gawad Saka Outstanding Agricultural Researcher Regional winner and national finalist in 2016.
Dr. Angel T. Bautista VII, Scientist I from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is a Supervising Science Research Specialist and the current Section Head, specializes in the environmental aspects and applications of nuclear energy, science, and technology. He has published more than 20 Web of Science/Scopus-indexed scientific articles on environmental radioactivity and environmental forensics (i.e., measuring and tracing pollution and contaminants back to their sources). His current research involvements and interests include the Food Authenticity and Traceability Program (as Program Leader), investigating the elevated radioactive iodine-129 in the West Philippine Sea (as Project Leader), addressing arsenic contamination in Luzon (as Co-Project Leader), Philippine Remediation of Mine Tailings (as Study Leader), reconstruction of paleoenvironments using natural archives such as coral and sediment cores, radiometric age dating (e.g., radiocarbon), and uranium exploration and recovery in the Philippines.
Dr. Casiano H. Choresca, Scientist I from the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute of DA, is known for his major projects on the molecular detection of emerging aquatic viruses specifically on the Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) in the Philippines which causes mass mortality in tilapia fry and fingerlings and molecular detection emerging bacterial pathogens in Tilapia and other freshwater and marine fish using molecular diagnostics as a platform in developing protocols in the identification of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites in cultured high valued finfishes and other aquatic species. He also worked on the establishment and cryopreservation of fin explants and somatic cells as donor cells and induce spawning in fish as he focused on the induced breeding of mudfish or ‘dalag’ (Channa striata) and climbing perch or ‘puyo, martiniko or liwalo’ (Anabas testudineus). He recently trained researchers, extensionists, technicians and farmers on how to breed these species under controlled conditions using induced spawning hormones.
Dr. Lucille Elna P. De Guzman, Scientist I from the Institute of Crop Science (iCrops), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), specializes in seed technology, organic agriculture, climate change adaptation (CCA), and indigenous knowledge systems (IKS). She investigated the socio-cultural aspects of organic agriculture, the constraints to its adoption, and the local or indigenous knowledge for CCA of agri-fisheries communities. Her research has contributed to the body of knowledge on the CCA of indigenous communities as well as established a link to biodiversity conservation through the identification and documentation of several species of famine food used and conserved by these communities. Dr. de Guzman is the project leader that generated relevant information on the non-destructive method of corn seed moisture content determination and the quality maintenance and storage of Jatropha curcas and hydro-primed rice seeds. She has effectively integrated the technical aspects of agronomy with the social features of CCA and IKS. Her current research projects are on the development of postharvest handling and storage protocols of organically-produced corn and on the costs and valuation of conversion from conventional to organic agriculture which target to increase the number of organic agriculture practitioners in the country.
Dr. Evelyn F. Delfin, Scientist I from the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) of UPLB, hopes to help improve the local crop varieties through enhanced abiotic stress tolerance that will enable the crop to endure the challenges brought about by climate change through her work in crop stress physiology and plant-microbe interaction. Her work on drought tolerance in eggplant identified the promising accessions for eggplant drought tolerance improvement while the identification of polymorphic SSR markers helped establish the genetic relationship among eggplant accessions with varying responses to drought. Her team also reported the differential responses to drought of the 29 Musa sp. germplasm from the Philippines and Southeast Asia at the seedling stage. Her research collaboration with BIOTECH, UPLB contributed to the identification of the most compatible plant-microbe interactions and characterization of promising plant growth-promoting bacteria strains specific for crops grown in acidic, saline, and Fusarium-infested soils.
Dr. Chitho P. Feliciano, Scientist I from the DOST-PNRI, founded the Radiation Research Center (RRC) that conducts research and development projects on a wide range of radiation research innovations involving radiation biology, radiation oncology, drug discovery and development, cellular radiobiology, tumor radiotherapy, low-dose effects, dosimetry methods, and health physics research. His research focuses on the development of protection measures against the unwanted effects of ionizing radiation for the safety of radiotherapy patients, radiation workers, and the public. He bagged awards and won prestigious recognitions from both international and national award-giving bodies, especially his collaborated work on the use of nanomedicine in radiation protection. On top of his research works, he also supervises the overall operation and maintenance of the environmental radiation monitoring stations installed nationwide for the safety of the environment and the public.
Dr. Leila D. Landicho, Scientist I from the Agricultural Systems Institute of the College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS-IAS) of UPLB, has made significant contributions to agroforestry research and development that helped address crucial environmental and socioeconomic issues affecting the livelihoods and overall well-being of the upland farming communities in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Her research centered on agroforestry education, as well as the assessment of agroforestry models in the Philippines, particularly their roles in climate change adaptation, sustainable upland development, and food security. Her research and development outputs have contributed significantly to the generation of new knowledge on agroforestry, the establishment of platforms for enhancing agroforestry education, improvement of agroforestry practice, as well as linking her institution with the universities and research institutions in the country and Southeast Asia.
Ms. Rosaly V. Manaois, Scientist I from DA-PhilRice, has been actively engaged in research focusing on the evaluation of grain quality, and nutritional and functional properties of rice in support of the breeding of new varieties. She has been involved in the development of food products from rice and other crops and their processing by-products for nutrition improvement and waste minimization and as a potential income source for farmers, for which she has generated three registered utility models from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. Her works on the antioxidant properties of various rice-based crops help in identifying potential dietary sources of antioxidants to combat non-communicable diseases and suitable raw materials for food applications with improved health and nutritional quality. She developed popular publications to encourage the consumption of underutilized rice-based crops among the general public and received local and international awards for her accomplishments.
Dr. Maria Theresa M. Mutia, Scientist I from DA-NFRDI. Her research is focused on aquaculture and inland fishery resources conservation and management. One of her most significant accomplishments is the development of the induced breeding protocol of Maliputo (Caranx ignobilis), a high-value fish found in Lake Taal. This is the first record of captive breeding and a major scientific breakthrough in Philippine aquaculture. Dr. Mutia also dedicated her research work to the conservation and management of the endemic freshwater sardine, Tawilis (Sardinella tawilis) which was recently declared endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). After several years of research on population dynamics, reproductive biology, and ichthyoplankton assessment, one of the most significant findings of her research includes the determination of the Tawilis spawning season and spawning grounds in Lake Taal. These findings were used as a basis for formulating science-based policies on the declaration of the Closed Fishing Season of Tawilis and the Establishment of Tawilis Reserve Areas as measures to re-populate the fish stocks in the lake. These policies were both approved by the DENR-Protected Area Management Board and implemented by the local government units and the fisherfolk. As the Chief Science Research Specialist, Dr. Mutia has provided dedicated government service resulting in a growing culture of research in NFRDI that has been instrumental in the government’s efforts of strengthening its agri-industrialization and fisheries program.
Dr. Marilyn O. Quimado, Scientist I from UPLB-CFNR, focused her research on the conservation of native forest species such as metallophytes and mentoring thesis students on plant anatomy and tissue culture. Specifically, through various research grants that she led, botanical surveys were conducted in Palawan, Surigao, and Zambales which resulted in the discovery of new records of nickel hyperaccumulators. She developed micropropagation protocols for Calophyllum soulattri, Dillenia luzoniensis, Lunasia amara, and Samadera indica, among others, and macropropagation of nickel hyperaccumulators such as Nymphanthus balgooyii, Dendro phyllanthus securinegoides, Rinorea bengalensis, and Rinorea niccolifera. She also led the establishment of germplasm collection of native metallophytes in the Department of Forest Biological Sciences (FBS), CFNR, UPLB, and in some nickel mining companies, increased the awareness and involvement of various stakeholders (staff and officials of nickel mining companies, host communities, and local government officials), replacement of exotic species with native metallophytes in reforestation of nickel mined-out areas in collaborator mining companies, and mentored students on various aspects of metallophytes.
Dr. Lourdes D. Taylo, Scientist I from UPLB-IPB, works primarily on the Host Plant Resistance (HPR) of vegetables with insect resistance traits. She was also actively involved in the development of the four National Seed Industry Council (NSIC)-registered first hybrid eggplant varieties developed at UPLB, and registered under the Plant Variety Protection (PVP), two eggplant hybrids, and two inbred lines. More importantly, she was involved in the research, development, and regulation of Event EE-1 eggplant possessing Bt Cry1Ac insecticidal protein that targets the eggplant fruit and shoot borer. This product is UPLB’s first genetically-engineered vegetable crop aimed to reduce farmers’ dependence on the use of insecticides thus maintaining an eco-friendly and healthy environment while providing increased crop productivity to eggplant farmers.
Dr. Marvin A. Villanueva, Scientist I from the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) of DA focused his research on generating updated information on several zoonotic diseases in livestock such as bovine leptospirosis and bovine tuberculosis that are often neglected in the country; and other livestock diseases of economic importance such as trypanosomiasis, theileriosis, neosporosis, caprine arthritis encephalitis, and food safety issues particularly on antimicrobial resistance. He also developed advanced/molecular-based diagnostic tests for sensitive detection of livestock diseases such as interferon gamma-release assay for bovine tuberculosis and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test for bovine leptospirosis. These sensitive and rapid diagnostic tests are currently used in the country for faster disease detection and initiation of treatment and control measures. Currently, he spearheads the upscaling of the production of QuickCArE® Dry LAMP CAEV Test Kit for expanded field trial, product registration, and commercialization.
Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, Scientist IV from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of DOST has conducted numerous community trials that contributed significantly to the improvement in the nutritional status of Filipinos. Among her greatest accomplishments are the researches translated into laws and policies which includes the “Integrated Model on School-Based Gardening, Nutrition Education and Supplementary Feeding” became the basis of the recently released National Supplementary Feeding Law; “Evaluation of Dietary Section of DOH Hospitals'' has been used as the basis of DOH to release an Administrative Order (AO) to increase the budget from Php 30.00/day to Php 150.00/day cost of meals of in-patients in charity wards; “Pilot – Scale Commercialization Iron Fortified Rice (IFR)” led to the release of local ordinances for the sale and consumption of IRF in numerous Local Government Units and has been fully adopted for implementation in different parts of the country; Research on food fortification of beverages also benefited Industries to make their products more nutritious for the Filipino population; and “Evaluation on the quality of life of Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) after Consuming Low Protein Rice'' has helped patients with kidney disease enjoy quality meals and improved quality of life. During this pandemic, her research on the effectiveness of Virgin Coconut Oil as an adjunction therapy for faster recovery from COVID-19 has helped in the government’s response to mitigating the transmission of the virus. She has been a short–term consultant in Indonesia and the National Institute of Nutrition, Hanoi, Vietnam, and a project leader in the conduct of National Nutrition Surveys. She also received several awards: PAGASA which was awarded by the President of the Philippines, the Alberto Romualdez Outstanding Health Research Award (National Category), and the Clara Ruth Darby Award (Nutritionist – Dietitians Association of the Philippines).
Dr. Nelly S. Aggangan, Scientist II from the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Technology (BIOTECH) of UPLB has concentrated her research on finding mycorrhizal fungi that help plants thrive in adverse conditions such as thin topsoil, low nutrients, very acidic to slightly acidic pH, and mine tailing and abandoned mined-out areas as an alternative to pricey inorganic chemical fertilizers for reforestation, crop production, improving growth and yield in unproductive agricultural soil, and restoring soil productivity and sustainability. Her research has led to the discovery of 12 species that are now in the MYKOVAM, MYKORICH, and MYKOCAP mycorrhizal inoculants. Furthermore, numerous farmers around the country have attested that these mycorrhizal inoculants may replace 65–85% of the chemical fertilizers needed by plants to achieve normal growth, particularly in infertile soil, and can enhance yields by up to three times depending on the crop. Also, the rehabilitation of a three-decade-old mined-out and abandoned land in Mogpog, Marinduque, is Dr. Aggangan's high-impact initiative. The 3-hectare experimental area is currently covered with green, healthy young mini-forests that can absorb heavy metals from the soil thanks to her leadership and collaboration with the communities and LGUs, creating a cleaner and safer environment. Her outstanding work on mine tailings bioremediation has greatly decreased the effects of environmental (soil, air, and water) degradation and educated the locals.
Dr. Maria Corazon A. De Ungria, Scientist IV from the Natural Sciences Research Institute (NSRI) of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) is a molecular biologist that focused her research on human genetic diversity and maximizing the use of DNA as a forensic tool for human identification in criminal investigations. Her work involves discovering how science can help address societal concerns in the Philippines. Currently, she is the Head of the DNA Analysis Laboratory of the NSRI and the Director of the Program on Biodiversity, Ethnicity, and Forensics at the Philippine Genome Center. Dr. De Ungria’s valuable contribution to Philippine governance was her work on the Rule on DNA Evidence with the Research Group of the Philippine Judicial Academy. After more than six years of continuous technical exchange, the Supreme Court finally promulgated the Rule on DNA Evidence in 2007. Since then, all Philippine courts have followed the Rule when DNA evidence is presented in any given case. She has passionately worked for more than 23 years as the longest-serving head of the DNA Analysis Laboratory, where she earned various awards. These recognitions include the Outstanding Woman in the Life Sciences from the Third World Organization of Women Scientists and Elsevier in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2009; a National Fellow of the L’Oreal -UNESCO Women in Science Program in 2011; and the Most Outstanding Alumni from the Australian Embassy in the Philippines in 2017. For her strict observance of the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” or RA 6713 and exemplary service to the country, Dr. Cora received a Dangal ng Bayan award from the Civil Service Commission also in 2017. In 2019, the Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences featured her as one of the two Filipinas in “Profiles of Women Scientists in Asia”. Dr. De Ungria identifies herself as a changemaker who uses “DNA” as her catalyst for change.
Ms. Marcela M. Navasero, Scientist II from the National Crop Protection Center (NCPC) of UPLB specializes in biological control, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and pest biology. Her notable achievements include the detection of invasive pests: onion armyworm, fall armyworm, and coconut leaf beetle; elucidation of the behavioral mechanisms behind the adverse effect of brown seaweed on Asian corn borer, a major pest of corn; and development of cost-effective and easy to adopt mass production techniques for pest and natural enemies, e.g., Brontispa longissimi (pest) and Chelisoches morio (predator) and utilization of the predator to control the pest in coconut – infested farms (due to Brontispa).
With this development, the roster of scientists conferred under the System brings the total number to 198 since the System was institutionalized in 1983 by then-President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
The SCS is a system of recruitment, career progression, and recognition that rewards scientist’s rank in the government service to develop a pool of highly qualified and productive scientific personnel. The system is co-implemented by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), with the CSC Chairman and DOST Secretary serving as Co-chairs of the Scientific Career Council. The SCS program is now administered by the NAST PHL.