The Science Career System (SCS) held its 2019 Oath Taking of the Newly Conferred and Upgraded Scientists last August 9, 2019 at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Libis, Quezon City. The Oath Taking was hosted by the Scientific Career System (SCS) and National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL).

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) conferred the Scientist rank to six (6) new researchers and upgraded the rank of one (1) scientist from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Science and Technology.

The newly conferred and upgraded scientist were sworn in by CSC and SCC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena, NAST PHL President Acd. Rhodora V. Azanza, National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) President Dr. Ramon A. Razal, NAST PHL Director IV Ms. Luningning E. Samarita-Domingo, Chairman of Special Technical Committee on Natural Sciences, Acd. Fabian M. Dayrit, Chairman of Special Technical Committee on Agricultural Sciences, Acd. Eufemio T. Rasco, Jr., and Chairman of Special Technical Committee on Social Sciences, Dr. Maria Cynthia Rose B. Bautista.

For 2019, the newly conferred and upgraded scientists are:

For. Sofronio C. Camacho, Scientist I from the Forest Development Center conducted significant researches for more than three decades in the areas of community-based forest management, citronella production and processing, bamboo production and harvesting, forest traditional knowledge, mangrove ecosystems, forest certification and climate change. His different researches contribute greatly to the development of human communities and help promote sustainable and equitable forest management and rehabilitations/restoration of degraded areas in our country.

Dr. Fe M. Dela Cueva, Scientist I from the Institute of Plant Breeding is the principal investigator for many research projects with outputs that are now being used by several relevant industries and stakeholders. Among her contributions that created an impact to the national economy or pest industry include, development of virus using antibody-based and nucleic-acid based detection techniques, which subsequently made Plant Laboratory of IPB as the National Virus Indexing Lab for banana by Bioversity International.

Also from the Institute of Plant Breeding is Dr. Olivia P. Damasco, Scientist I who pioneered the banana tissue culture, a breakthrough technology that contributed tremendously in value of clean planting materials needed by the banana industry. More recently, as the principal investigator, she initiated the in vitro conversation of the Philippine sugarcane germplasm collections. In an environment highly vulnerable to natural calamities, climate change, and urbanization, the in vitro gene bank offers assurance of security and safety of valuable plant genetic resources.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reynante L. Ordonio, Scientist I from the Philippine Rice Research Institute of the Department of Agriculture found for the first time in sorghum that gibberellin (GA) is crucial for the erectness of its culum. He showed that GA deficiency resulting from any loss-of-function mutation in four genes involved in the early steps of GA biosynthesis not only results in severe dwarfism but also abnormal culm bending in sorghum.

Dr. Imelda A. Agdeppa, Scientist II from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute conducted numerous researches, which were considered as basis for crafting laws and policies for the improvement in nutritional status of Filipinos which includes the “Integrated Model on School-Based Gardening, Nutrition Education and Supplementary Feeding” became the reference of the recently released National Supplementary Feeding Law and the “Pilot – Scale Commercialization Iron Fortified Rice” led to the release of local ordinances for the sale and consumption of iron fortified rice (IFR) in numerous LGUs. This intervention model has been fully adopted for implementation in different parts of the country. IFR is included as a food commodity in the Family Food Packs of DSWD; used in the supplementary feeding program of DepEd and has attracted adopters of the technology resulting to wider distribution of IFR.

Ms. Charito T. Aranilla, Scientist I of Philippine Nuclear Research Institute conducted significant researches in the fields of radiation chemistry and radiation processing, utilizing ionizing radiation like gamma radiation and electron beam to modify polymeric materials for various applications. She pioneered the carboxymethylation of kappa-carrageenan (CMkC) and opened doors to more non-food applications of the polysaccharide. Carboxymethylation transformed k-carrageenan from degrading to radiation crosslinking-responsive polymer. The CMkC can be used as a stand-alone material for developing crosslinked and sterile hydrogel for wound care management. The crosslinked hydrogel also demonstrated super-absorbency and biodegradability that can be utilized to ameliorate sandy soil and improved water holding capacity to make suitable for crop cultivation.

On the other hand, Mr. Mario V. Navasero, Scientist II from the National Crop Protection Center of UPLB is notable of his achievements covering the period for his upgrading (2013-2015) include the discovery and use of Comperiella calaunica (Hymenoptera: Encytridae), an efficient biological control agent and specific parasitoid, that contributed to the cessation of outbreak of invasive cocolisap Aspidiotus Rigidus Reyne (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), elucidate the chemical bases of repellency of some plants to some major pests of rice and eggplant, and assessment of potential impact of Bt eggplant, the first insecticide-protected plant being developed in the country, on non-target arthropods.

These conferred Scientists are ranked to receive the corresponding salary grade: Scientist I - SG 26; Scientist II - SG 27; Scientist III - SG 28; Scientist IV - SG 29; and Scientist V - SG 30.

They are also entitled to representation and travel allowance; Magna Carta benefits; membership in international scientific organization and/or subscription to scientific journals; publication assistance; and foreign travel assistance for oral paper presentation of 3,000USD per scientist every two years.

Nominees both for Admission and Upgrading are evaluated based on their scientific outputs, which in the Merit System are divided into (a) scientific productivity (80%) which covers the discoveries and inventions, utility models, and scientific publications and (b) scientific and professional standing (20%) that includes prestigious scientific awards, paper presentations, etc.
With this development, the roster of scientists conferred under the System brings the total number of 168 since the System was institutionalized in 1983 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The system is a government’s effort to personnel in the government institutions with limited number of available higher plantilla positions.

The SCS is a system of recruitment, career progression, recognition, and reward of scientists in the public service as means of developing 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.