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The six NRCP presidents, together with Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay (left), during the 1st NRCP Presidents Meeting held last 13 October 2016 at the Paulo Campos Conference Room, NRCP, Bicutan, Taguig City. They are (2nd from left, to right) Dr. Alvin B. Culaba, NS Lourdes J. Cruz, NS Edgardo D. Gomez, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. Dela Peña, Dr. Olivia C. Caoili, and Dr. Amelia C. Ancog. (Photo by Val A. Zabala)

Six scientists who served as presidents of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) met to discuss the agency’s current state, direction, and plans, in what was described as an unprecedented “powerhouse meeting,” Thursday, 13 October 2016, at the NRCP, Taguig City. The “1st NRCP Presidents Meeting” provided means to exchange ideas, identify areas for improvement, and conceive schemes to attain NRCP’s original vision for the country.

In attendance were National Scientist (NS) Edgardo D. Gomez, incumbent, (Division V -Biological Sciences); Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary, Professor Fortunato T. Dela Peña, 2002-2007, (Division VII - Engineering and Industrial Research); Dr. Amelia C. Ancog, 2000-2001, (Division I - Governmental, Educational, and International Policies); Dr. Olivia C. Caoili, 2007-2008 (Division VIII - Social Sciences); Dr. Alvin B. Culaba , 2010-2012 (Division VII - Engineering and Industrial Research); and NS Lourdes J. Cruz, 2012-2014 (Division X - Chemical Sciences). 

The leaders discussed and agreed on eight proposed strategies and courses of action:

  • Enhance the participation of NRCP in public discussions concerning matters on national safety and security; infuse science for national security; and initiate programs on Defense R&D.
  • Build NRCP’s regional presence through a comprehensive program to establish, sustain or expand the regional membership/clusters, and to set up mechanisms such as the maintenance of NRCP offices/centers/desks in the regions.
  • Revisit and review Act 4120 which created the NRCP, and correspondingly explore opportunities for growth in cognizance of present/modern societal needs and expectations.
  • Enable NRCP to tackle bigger R&D programs beyond its traditional basic research mandate.
  • Explore NRCP’s potential as a government instrumentality with corporate powers (GICP).
  • Use marine science conservation, along with the current wealth of expertise by NRCP members, as strategic leverage to help NRCP forge more collaboration with key government agencies, and generate international linkages, thereby, encourage knowledge-sharing.
  • Strengthen NRCP’s role in shaping government policies based on scientific evidences and research results generated by NRCP-funded researches.
  • Maximize the utilization of NRCP as a collegial body of scientists and experts.

In addition, Secretary Dela Peña promised to help defend NRCP during budget hearings to safeguard and augment its R&D funds, and was receptive to establishing NRCP’s regional reach, in view of the current administration’s thrusts.

According to Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay, executive director, the meeting will now be done regularly in order to better address the needs of the Council.

“This initiative of a Presidents meeting will provide us valuable insights and advice from our leaders, so that our Council can better define its directions, adapt to its dynamic environment, meet our clients’ continually changing demands, and contribute to the attainment of the country’s agenda on S & T for inclusive development.”

(George Robert E. Valencia III, S&T Media Service, DOST-NRCP)

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