Dr. Gregorio E. H. del Pilar
30th President of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP)
Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
Taguig City, Philippines - The Members of the Governing Board of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) elected Dr. Gregorio E. H. del Pilar, professor 12 of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Department of Psychology and reelected chair of the NRCP Division of Social Sciences (2020-2022), as its 30th President on Wednesday, 1 July 2020.
Del Pilar, along with the newly elected officers and members of the Council’s Governing Board, took his oath of office online administered by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña at the 1045th NRCP Governing Board and Organizational Meeting via Zoom. Del Pilar succeeds Dr. Ramon A. Razal, former NRCP Agriculture and Forestry chair and UP Los Baños professor, as the new Council President to serve from 1 July 2020 until 31 March 2021.
Del Pilar heads the Personality Research Laboratory at the Department of Psychology of the University of the Philippines Diliman, teaching courses in personality traits, personality and ability measurement, and psychological statistics. In research, he is most known for authoring Masaklaw na Panukat ng Loob (Mapa ng Loob), a personality inventory that operationalizes the Five-Factor Model of personality traits with Filipino trait constructs. He is currently working on his research on mindfulness and also served as the Social Sciences cluster Co-Lead for the Future Earth Philippines Program that was implemented by the NRCP in 2019.
With roots from Bulacan, Central Luzon, del Pilar is popular among the scholarly circles as an advocate for the use of Filipino as a medium of instruction and in daily and professional communication. He has also supported the use of Filipino as language in research and translated many of his research works in Filipino.
Del Pilar is related to his namesake, the Philippine hero Gen. Gregorio Hilario del Pilar y Sempio, his great granduncle. “Doc Greg” obtained his AB Psychology from UP Diliman cum laude, and his doctorate in Differential Psychology Mention Très Honorable avec Félicitations (with Distinction) from the Université de Paris Nanterre in 1998. He serves in the Executive Board of the World Association for Personality Psychology, and is a Fellow (Kadiwang Panghabangbuhay) of the Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino and the Psychological Association of the Philippines.
President del Pilar’s early priority: strengthening Council identity and health
For Dr. del Pilar, strengthening the identity of the Council should be among its immediate priorities. He likened the NRCP’s current situation during the war years when Bienvenido Gonzales (1939-1951) was NRCP president, when the Council’s “health” and that of the Filipino society had suffered a decline. He said despite the current occupation on the pandemic, there still are many other problems and issues that cannot be set aside.
“Sa madaling salita, kailangang pangalagaan ang kalusugan ng lipunan. Gayon din ang ating konseho. Kasabay ng ating pagtugon sa pandemya, kailangan din nating tiyakin ang kalusugan ng organisasyon,” he said. (In other words, we need to ensure the health of our society. Same with that of our Council. As we address the pandemic, we need to ensure the health of the organization.)
President del Pilar added:
“Tiyak na marami tayong gawain dahil sa walang katulad na krisis na kasalukuyan nating tinatawid, at dahil sa mga pangkaraniwang abalahin ng kahit aling organisasyon tulad ng sa atin, na nagsisikap matupad ang matatayog nitong ambisyon […] tinatanggap ko ang hamong ito, at umaasa ako na sasamahan ninyo ako sa pagtataguyod ng isang NRCP na matatag at makabuluhan sa ngayon, at sa lahat ng panahon.” (Certainly we have a lot of work going on because of this unprecedented crisis we are now in, and because of the regular business of any organization like ours, as it perseveres to attain its noble aspirations, I am accepting the challenge and I trust that you will all join me in supporting an NRCP that is strong and relevant today and always.)
New NRCP Officers and Governing Board Members also took oath
Also elected officers were NRCP Veterinary Medicine Chair, Dr. Claro N. Mingala of the Philippine Carabao Center and Bureau of Animal Industry, as Council Vice President; NRCP Physics Chair, Dr. Cristine D. Villagonzalo of the National Institute of Physics, UP Diliman, as Council Corporate Secretary; NRCP Earth and Space Sciences Chair, Dr. Edanjarlo J. Marquez of UP Manila, as Council Treasurer. Like Dr. del Pilar, they will serve a one-year term.
Also sworn in to serve their two-year terms, from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2022, were the newly elected NRCP Governing Board Members. They are NRCP Member-at-Large, Dr. Jomar F. Rabajante, NRCP Mathematics Division regular member and UP Los Baños Professor, and seven NRCP Division Chairs, namely, Dr. Marie Paz E. Morales of the Philippine Normal University (Division I - Governmental, Educational, and International Policies); Dr. Leslie Michelle M. Dalmacio of UP Manila (Division III - Medical Sciences); Dr. Erna C. Arollado of UP Manila (Division IV – Pharmaceutical Sciences); Dr. Renato SA. Vega of UP Los Baños (Division VI – Agriculture and Forestry); Dr. Ramon Christian P. Eusebio of UP Los Baños (Division VII – Engineering and Industrial Research); and Acd. Maribel G. Nonato of the University of Santo Tomas (Division X – Chemical Sciences); and Dr. del Pilar as the reelected chair of NRCP Division of Social Sciences (Division VIII).
New Officers of the National Research Council of the Philippines (2020-2021) swear remotely before DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña via Zoom online platform Wednesday, 1 July 2020. (Photo by MIS, NRCP)
The newly elected members of the NRCP Governing Board also took their NRCP “Panunumpa” via Zoom. They were elected by the regular members of the Council last June 8-10, 2020 through an online platform developed by the NRCP. (Zoom screengrab photo by MIS, NRCP RIDD).
Council seen to play a more important role amid the “new normal”
In his address to the new Governing Board, DOST Secretary de la Peña said the Council will now, more than ever, play a more important role through the “science for policy and policy for science” advocacy in view of the “new normal” vis-à-vis the COVID-19 pandemic. De la Peña, who is also former NRCP president (2002-2007), emphasized the Council’s unique position and capability to aid science and research-backed decisions for policy, recommendations, and solutions for governance and the public.
Examples of highly relevant issues that require multidisciplinary work which, according to Secretary de la Peña, the 13 Divisions of the NRCP can mull over, are: the operation of public transportation and jeepneys; the problem of reduced opportunities brough about by the limitation of mobility, face-to-face interaction, and the fear that has been created; solutions to the problem of learning for the youth due to limited access to technology, connectivity, and the preclusion of face-to-face teaching; and lastly, addressing local food security problems, including the African swine fever (ASF) which is threatening the local livestock supply but largely ignored by the public because of its over occupation about COVID-19.
Moreover, the Science Chief said that there are a lot of things that can be accomplished by researchers collaboratively without spending too much. He drew attention, however, to the fact that there are now ways to connect with one another online that reduces the inconvenience of travel and scheduling, thus, potentially, people’s excuses to join meetings for such collaboration to happen among researchers across discipline and geographical divides.
Undersecretary for Research and Development and DOST Representative to the Governing Board Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, meanwhile, said that the Council’s role in policy making has become stronger in the past three years by way of expert opinions of members on certain bills and the series of policy briefs, per the results of its funded researches, used in legislation. She also praised the Council for instilling in the mind of local researchers the National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA 2017-2022) to direct local research toward prioritization per the most pressing concerns.
Lastly, she stressed the role of the effective science communication on enhancing public awareness of research and S&T, and thus challenged the new Board members to laymanize research for public attention and appreciation.
She said, “how can we effect change if we are quiet about it (our research)?”
The Members of the NRCP Governing Board (2020-2021) with the DOST Officials and the NRCP Executive Director. (Zoom screengrab photo by MIS, NRCP RIDD)
(From Top L-R) New Council President and reelected Chair of NRCP Division of Social Sciences, Dr. Gregorio E. H. del Pilar, Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, Undersecretary for R&D and DOST Representative to the Governing Board, Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, and Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagasyay.
(2nd Tier L-R) Dr. Marie Paz E. Morales, new Chair of the Governmental, Educational, and International Policies Division; Dr. Leslie Michelle M. Dalmacio, new chair of the Medical Sciences Division; Dr. Renato SA. Vega of UP Los Baños, new chair of the Agriculture and Forestry Division; Acd. Maribel G. Nonato, new chair of the Chemical Sciences Division; and Dr. Erna C. Arollado, new chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Division
(3rd Tier L-R) Dr. Ramon Christian P. Eusebio, new chair of the Engineering and Industrial Research Division; Dr. Jomar F. Rabajante, new Member-at-Large; Dr. Edanjarlo J. Marquez, Council Treasurer and chair of the Earth and Space Sciences Division; Dr. Cristine D. Villagonzalo, Council Corporate Secretary and chair of the Physics Division; and Dr. Hope S. Yu, chair of the Humanities Division.
(4th Tier L-R) Dr. Edna Estifania A. Co, Member-at-Large; Dr. Claro N. Mingala, Council Vice President and chair of the Veterinary Medicine Division; and Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo, chair of the Mathematical Sciences Division. Not in photo: Dr Arvin Diesmos, chair of the Biological Sciences Division.
(By George Robert E. Valencia III, NRCP OED)