One newly conferred and three promoted SCS scientists were sworn in by National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) President and SCC Member Academician William G. Padolina during the remarkable ceremony held on December 9, 2015 at the Acacia Hotel Manila in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The newly conferred scientist, Dr. Marilla G. Lucero, is from Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the Department of Health (DOH), and the three highly productive member scientists upgraded, Dr. Claro N. Mingala, Dr. Mudjekeewies D., Santos and Dr. Dionisio G. Alvindia , are from Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) , National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), of the Department of Agriculture, respectively. Promoted scientists from BFAR-NFRDI and PhilMech were not able to attend the ceremony, but their contributions were recognized in the said event.
CSC and SCC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala, through her representative Human Resource Policies and Standards Office Director Azucena P. Esleta, regarded the scientists group as the brightest hope of the world. She emphasized that the group has a low need for developmental and disciplinary actions. She recognized the role of the SCS in honing and nurturing civil servants and transforming them into Lingkod Bayani.
NAST President and SCC Member Acd. William G. Padolina presented and discussed several S&T policy issues that need to be addressed and acted upon for the advancement of S&T in the country. According to him, the nation’s development agenda must include good governance and good science, which is comprised of convergence, partnerships and timeliness.
Presenting the New and Promoted Scientists
DR. MARILLA G. LUCERO, the very first researcher from the Department of Health to be admitted to SCS, is a Chief Science Research Specialist at the DOH-RITM whose specialization is in Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases. Her past works include conducting immunogenicity and safety trials of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) to prevent pneumonia in children and embarking on Phase 3 trial of PCV involving 12,000 children in the Philippines that provided proof of concept evidence that PCV prevented pneumonia in Filipino children. This significant work helped in the decision to include PCV in the Philippine national immunization program. In her most recent study, Dr. Lucero found out that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza are also very important causes of pneumonia in children, which highlights the importance of preventing not only bacterial but also viral pneumonia through vaccination using influenza vaccines and/or RSV vaccines.
DR. DIONISIO G. ALVINDIA, who was promoted from Scientist II to Scientist III, is Supervising Science Research Specialist at the DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech). He specializes in postharvest diseases of economically important fruits such as banana and mango using non-chemical control methods. He was first conferred Scientist I in SCS on 23 June 2010. Dr. Alvindia pioneered the use of alternatives to fungicides such as hot water dip, biological control agents, organic salts and organic salts with surfactant. One of his most notable research works is the control of crown rot of bananas used for export. Dr. Alvindia’s research established that the combination of certain non-chemical treatments proved effective for controlling the pathogenic fungi that cause crown rot in bananas. Dr. Alvindia has published numerous research papers in international journals and scientific books.
DR. CLARO N. MINGALA, Scientist II, is Farm Superintendent II at the DA-Philippine Carabao Center who specializes in immunology and infectious diseases of livestock. He was first conferred Scientist I rank on December 12, 2011. Dr. Mingala is steadily gaining recognition as an animal health expert because of his significant studies on immunology of water buffaloes, results of which are currently being used as basis in the development of vaccines, diagnostic tools and therapeutic agents. Dr. Mingala’s pioneering researches earned him the NAST’s Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) Award in 2011 and the Most Outstanding Veterinarian in Government Service award by the Philippine Veterinary Medical Association in 2010. Recently, he was granted the Outstanding Veterinary Practitioner Award in the field of Research by the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines and the Gregorio Y. Zara Award of the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
DR. MUDJEKEEWIS D. SANTOS, Scientist II, is Supervising Aquaculturist at the BFAR-National Fisheries research and Development Institute. He specializes in Aquatic Biosciences. He was first conferred Scientist I rank in SCS on May 4, 2011. Dr. Santos’ most recent studies include the identification of mislabelled fishery products in the markets using DNA barcoding. Mislabelling of products is considered a violation of consumer rights and safety. This work was adjudged as one of the best AFMA papers during the 2011 National Research Symposium of the Bureau of Agricultural Research. Dr. Santos also established DNA sequence and liver morphology as accurate markers for identifying juvenile yellowfin and bigeye tunas which provided important reference point to correct tuna catch statistics of the country.
The Scientific Career System since its creation through Executive Order 901 in 1984 has served as the government’s motivational tool in encouraging researchers in the service to delve into scientific research through a reward and recognition system without leaving their original position in their parent agency while receiving higher salaries corresponding to their rank and numerous entitlements and benefits. Productive scientists in terms of scientific publications, discoveries and inventions produced within the span of four years are evaluated for promotion or upgrading. As of December 31, 2015, the SCS has 47 active scientists.