In collaboration with the Philippine Science and Technology Center – Saranggani, General Santos, the Scientific Career System held an orientation seminar last November 6, 2015 at the Sun City Suites, General Santos City. Participants were personnel from local government units, Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region XII, and students and faculty members of stateuniversities and colleges, such as Mindanao State University (MSU) and University of Southern Mindanao (USM). The orientation aimed to introduce the Scientific Career System as a system of recruitment, career progression, recognition and reward for researchers in the public service.
Acd. Ruben L. Villareal, former Chairman of the STC on Agricultural Sciences, led the orientation. He discussed the legal basis and objectives of the system. According to him, high caliber scientists are needed to address several challenges of the country such as low scientific productivity, global competitiveness ranking, and global innovation index. He took note that SCS was patterned after the Career Executive Service Officers (CESO). He also explained the incentives and benefits, basic qualifications, and the process of application for admission.
Representatives of the DOST-Magna Carta Committee were also invited to discuss the benefits of admission to SCS. Ms. Joana J. Angostora presented the RA 8439 Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and Other S&T Personnel in the Government. Her presentation included the objectives and the rights of S&T Personnel. She focused on the accreditation aspect, the guidelines on the availment of benefits under RA No. 8439 for S&T Personnel not employed by the DOST and the requirements to be submitted to DOST.
Dr. Raul D. Dumol discussed the benefits that can be received under the Magna Carta such as hazard pay, subsistence allowance and longevity pay. His presentation included the definition and computation of these allowances, and who are entitled to the different allowances.
Through this orientation, a scientific career path for researchers in the government service was introduced to future scientists. It also created awareness on the need for highly productive scientists in the country. Student participants were very much encouraged to take the scientific career path in the future. Introducing the SCS to prospective scientists is a small step that can greatly create an impact in the future of the country’s scientific productivity.
The Scientific Career Council, the highest governing body of the Scientific Career System (SCS), conferred Scientist I rank on Dr. Marilla G. Lucero, the very first researcher from the Department of Health to be admitted to SCS, and upgraded three highly productive member scientists, namely, Dr. Dionisio G. Alvindia, Dr. Claro N. Mingala, and Dr. Mudjekeewis D. Santos to higher scientist rank on November 03, 2014. Dr. Alvindia was promoted from Scientist I to Scientist III, and both Drs Mingala and Santos to Scientist II.
Dr. Lucero is a Chief Science Research Specialist at the DOH-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and specializes in Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases. From 1996 to 2000, Dr. Lucero conducted immunogenicity and safety trials of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) to prevent pneumonia in children, which was later proved safe and effective. From 2000 to 2009, she embarked 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. Alvindia, on the other hand, is Supervising Science Research Specialist at the DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) and 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. Mingala is Farm Superintendent II at the DA-Philippine Carabao Center who specializes in pathology and infectious diseases of ruminants. He was first conferred Scientist I rank on 12 December 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 in the production 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.
Dr. Santos, Supervising Aquaculturist at the BFAR-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, specializes in Aquatic Biosciences. He was first conferred Scientist I rank in SCS on 04 May 2011. Dr. Santos’ most recent studies include the identification of mislabeled fishery products in the markets using DNA barcoding. Mislabeling 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 a 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 been an important tool by the government to encourage researchers in the government service to go deeper 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. For year 2014, SCS upgraded a total of four scientists in the System, including Dr. Arvin C. Diesmos from the National Museum of the Philippines who was promoted from Scientist II to Scientist III.