The virtual stage for the 88th NRCP General Assembly with NRCP President Dr. Greg E.H Del Pilar and NRCP Executive Director Dr. Marieta Banez-Sumagaysay as Moderator with NRCP members in the background.
The NRCP’s 88th Annual Scientific Conference and General Membership Assembly on March 10 had over 1500 virtual participants composed of new regular and associate members of NRCP. This year’s theme, ‘Pagbangon and Pananaig: National Recovery and Rebuilding’ aptly tackled current pandemic situation the nation is facing now.
The NRCP put together esteemed experts in the field of research and celebrated the contribution of its outstanding achievement awardees and member emeritus to the generation of new knowledge and the promotion of science culture in the country. The council's 88th virtual confab brought together seasoned, young, budding and aspiring Filipino scientists, researchers, and artists across 17 regions of the country. It likewise welcomed 133 newly-elected regular members and 305 newly-approved associate members as recommended by the Division Chairs and approved by the Governing Board.
In photo: DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena, giving his opening remarks
DOST Sec. Fortunato T. De la Pena congratulated NRCP for the success of this year’s celebration, although challenging, he opens this year with full of hopes. “Attendance this year is higher than last year, signal that we are on the right track to Pagbangon and Pananaig. Nothing can stop an inquisitive mind from making sense of what’s going on around no matter what it may be,” Secretary Dela Pena said in his message.
The DOST secretary saw this event as an opportunity to look at how we, in the scientific community adapts and rises up. In his encouraging words he said, “Ang bakal para tumibay, ay kailangan dumaan sa apoy para tayo ay lalakas at titibay. Manalig tayo sa ating kakayahan, gawin natin ang ating makakaya para tayo ay makabangon, manaig at lalo lumakas at tumibay.”
(The iron, to be strong, must pass through fire…. Similar to what we have to undergo in order for us to be strong and steadfast. Let us trust in our ability. Let us do our best so that we can rise, prevail and become stronger and better.)
In photo: Academician Michael L. Tan, plenary speaker, during his presentation
Academician Michael L. Tan, the plenary resource speaker, said that to achieve national recovery and rebuilding, good practices and governance must be in place. Furthermore, he emphasized on the need to document good practices among national and local government and for more compassionate and science- based approaches. He mentioned significant scenarios that reflect the current pandemic situation of the Philippines. He redefined the meaning of “better normal,” that of which deals with the long-term effects of COVID 19 like preparing for future public health emergencies and mitigating the impact of the disasters. His final words to the NRCP attendees, participants and viewers, “restore trust and faith within the government system and in the science institutions.”
In photo: DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara during her presentation
DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara highlighted that amid the pandemic, research is a strong solution-provider to saving lives and stabilizing economies. She further said that research helps in understanding the virus, and later to develop diagnostic kits, treatments, and vaccines. Researchers and social scientists have essential roles in developing technologies that track the virus, as well as in giving mental health and psychosocial support, policies and services for the people. Thus, research findings and results allow people from all walks of life to be given timely scientific information that is derived from scientific efforts.
She presented short term, medium term, and the long term plans of DOST R&D amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. “Basic science and existing applied research on COVID 19 is a means to respond to people’s pressing need during this pandemic. As such, funding projects relative to COVID 19 – Gen Amplify, Fassster, RxBox, ARCHER from PCHRD, STRAP from PCIEERD and ReAARRCC from PCAARRD – among others, helped in the fight against COVID 19,” Guevara pointed out.
This year’s scientific conference and General Membership Assembly (GMA) also presented milestones in NRCP history with the singing of the interfaith prayer sang in five Philippine languages, a first for NRCP. It also unveiled a day before the GMA, a life size sculpture called Malayang Isip, a masterpiece created by Jose Manuel "Manolo" Sicat as a tribute to Filipino scientists, researchers and artists. NRCP Executive Director Dr. Marieta Bañez-Sumagaysay said, “Malayang Isip is NRCP’s gift to our next generation of thinkers who work with a heart.”
Dr. Greg E. H. Del Pilar, 2020 NRCP Governing Board President, shared an insightful message for this year’s theme, “Ang pag iisip na nagbubuo sa ating hiraya o imahinasyon ng mundong hinaharap, ang siya ring mag-aakay sa atin hindi lamang sa ganap na pagbangon kundi sa pananaig laban sa pandemya. Ito ang tunay na kahulugan ng pananaig. Kabahagi tayo ng ibang mga bansa sa misyong ito at marahil ay natalakay ng ating mga tagapagsalita ngayong umaga ang ilang mga batayan tungo rito.”
(The mind that forms our imagination of the future world, will also lead us not only to full recovery but to victory over the pandemic. This is the true meaning of recovery. We are part of other nations in this mission and perhaps our speakers this morning have discussed some of the basics towards its attainment..)
- Grace Ann M. Valondo, NRCP-OED