“Given the climate emergency, I would like to call all members of the NRCP management, the DOST, academics, and artistic communities and the various research institutions to continue working with us despite the odds.”- Cong. Loren Legarda.

Photo Source: Cong. Legarda Facebook Page

Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda stressed the need to boost research on climate emergency and indigenous peoples (IPs) culture in her message during the 87th anniversary celebration of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP). This was held via Zoom on December 10, 2020.

Legarda underscored that climate emergency and IP culture and rights are two pressing national concerns that are overlooked, thus, the need to conduct further studies

Tackling climate emergency

A community in Bicol devastated by Typhoon Rolly. Cong. Legarda emphasized the need to boost research on climate emergency.

“Admittedly, there is still a huge void on research regarding the worsening impacts of climate change,” shared Legarda.

Known for her staunch environmental advocacy, she added that the NRCP should explore opportunities towards supporting initiatives on climate change especially that it’s one of the national government’s priority concerns.

“It’s high time that we endeavor to advocate for research initiatives oriented towards providing solutions for national and social problems of our country, our regions, and our communities including climate change,” said Legarda.

On IP rights, cultural documentation

Cong. Legarda recommended the documentation of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), recognizing the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) role to addressing climate emergency. Photo Source: Cong. Legarda Facebook Page

"It is a challenge for NRCP especially those involved in social sciences and humanities to continue to reach more IPs in the country,” stressed Legarda.

As an avid IP advocate, Legarda cited the need for more research on the newly-discovered areas and habitats of the IPs to promote cultural integrity and revitalize their rights as stewards of the natural environment. She cautioned, however, that researchers should not commit the “sin of cultural appropriation” and for them to practice Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and equitable benefit sharing.

Legarda likewise shared that one research of the NRCP which she supported, involved the documentation of musical indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) among the various tribes in Mindanao such as the Manobo.

She emphasized that the IP’s IKS are helpful sources of knowledge and best practices for timely national endeavors such as arresting environmental degradation.

Why Basic Research Matters

Legarda mentioned that NRCP’s basic research agenda can help accelerate the national drive towards a better and more sustainable Philippines.

“Reliable and accurate data generated from basic research plays a crucial role in developing solutions to the country’s problems especially on COVID19 and environmental changes,” Legarda said.

She adds that the NRCP should continue investing on research especially on the potential source of antibiotics such as the Council’s funded research on active actinobacteria compounds derived from marine sediments in various areas of the country.

It can be recalled that during the last DOST budget plenary hearing at the House of Representatives, Legarda campaigned for the increase of NRCP’s budget for 2021 in order to prime up basic research for the Council’s more than 4800 member-scientists, engineers, experts, artists and researchers.

Aside from Legarda, Sen. Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay and Sen. Francis Ng Tolentino graced NRCP’s 87th Anniversary.