Marine biologist Mudjekeewis D. Santos of the BFAR-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute was proclaimed as one of this year’s recipients of the Civil Service Commission’s prestigious Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award. Dr. Santos is Scientist II in the Scientific Career System, an institutionalized recognition and reward program that awards scientist rank to highly productive researchers in the government service.

The Presidential Lingkod Bayan is among the CSC’s honors awards conferred to an individual or group of individuals for their exceptional or extraordinary contributions resulting from an idea or performance that had nationwide impact on public interest and national security.

Dr. Santos’ pioneering works in genetics and biotechnology particularly in aquaculture species have significantly contributed in the development of the fisheries sector and biodiversity conservation efforts of the country. His most recent studies focused on determining the extensive mislabeling of fisheries products in the domestic markets using DNA technology. Product mislabeling is considered a serious violation of consumer rights and the food safety policy. Examples of these are the fimbriated sardines, fish species locally known as tunsoy, tamban and laolao, which are being sold as tawilis sardines, and the Tonggol Tuna marketed as Bluefin Tuna. He also developed accurate markers consisting of a DNA sequence and liver morphology for identifying juvenile yellowfin and bigeye tunas that are critical in fisheries management and conservation.

Dr. Santos’ scientific works have been published in various reputable international journals. His paper on mislabeling fishery products was adjudged as one of the best AFMA papers during the 2011 National Research Symposium of the Department of Agriculture. Dr. Santos is an Outstanding Young Scientist awardee of the National Academy of Science and Technology in 2011.

As a Lingkod Bayan awardee, Dr. Santos will receive a gold-gilded medallion, Presidential plaque and a cash reward of P200,000. He is also entitled to an automatic promotion to the next higher position pursuant to Section 5 of Executive Order 508 “Instituting the Lingkod Bayan Award as the Presidential Award for Outstanding Public Service.

Dr. Santos is the third SCS scientist to be awarded the CSC’s Presidential honors awards in the last four years, with Dr. Lucille V. Abad (Scientist I) winning the Presidential Dangal ng Bayan Award in 2011 and Dr. Roel R. Suralta (Scientist I) the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award in 2013. (Mary Charlotte Fresco, Scientific Career System)