“Recovery and rebuilding ought to be the focus of local research efforts in the pandemic’s wake,” according to Dr. Gregorio E. H. del Pilar, National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) president. The NRCP Governing Board thus set ‘Pagbangon at Pananaig: National Recovery and Rebuilding’ as the theme for the Council’s virtual Annual Scientific Conference and 88th General Membership Assembly on March 10, 2021.
The second virtual general assembly by the premier collegial body will convene its membership dispersed across the 17 Philippine regions, composed of nearly 5,000 seasoned and young researchers and artists, along with local and foreign practitioners in S&T and research.
Dr. del Pilar stressed that it is not enough to address recovery from the overwhelming effects of the pandemic alone (pagbangon), but towards rebuilding the country through the many lessons and various strides already attained by Filipinos (pananaig). He cited the resource efficiency and convenience of online meetings, now a daily routine of Filipinos, as an example of one such positive attainment. Pre-pandemic meetings were beset with issues such as non-attendance, heavy traffic, lost time, and food costs or wastage, del Pilar said.
Leading Filipino anthropologist and Academician, Emeritus Prof. Michael Lim Tan, will deliver a plenary presentation tackling how ‘pagbangon at pananaig’ can be realized, while Department of Finance Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil S. Beltran will deliver the conference keynote message. Top DOST officials, Secretary Fortunato de la Pena and R&D Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara will also deliver presentations.
The conference features parallel sessions on the essential aspects and lenses on national recovery and rebuilding by some of the country’s most notable experts-researchers:
- Reviving the Philippine Economy and Sustaining Growth
- Bridging Science, Politics and People in Research
- Securing the Country from Pandemic and Other Disruptions
- Interdisciplinary Research for Public Policy: Development for the Countryside
- Arts and Human Expressions in Policy Studies
With the lineup, the Council aims to produce recommendations for policy and insights to help reorient researchers toward the goal of contributing to national recovery and rebuilding.
During the affair, the Council will hold its first-ever virtual poster exhibit and competition, and name seven NRCP Achievement Awardees for 2020 from various scholarly disciplines and fields, along with two senior NRCP members being conferred the NRCP Member Emeritus distinction.
Another highlight of the conference is the revealing of the commissioned sculpture masterpiece by artist Manolo Sicat dedicated to the Filipino researcher.
A membership Business Meeting, to be led by Council President del Pilar, will follow the plenary and parallel sessions, while an oath-taking of newly elected Governing Board members, regular members, and confirmed associate members of the Council will proceed after its Business Meeting.
In March 2020, the NRCP was the first among all local collegial organizations to postpone a major conference days before the event upon a DOH pronouncement declaring a state of national emergency brought by COVID 19. The Council was lauded for its quick response to avert community transmission. It successfully pulled off an online mode for the conference and membership assembly in only less than three months. Moreover, the Council held a series of webinars billed KTOP-COVID (Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya) to inform the public about the results of its quick small budget commissioned researches on the various social dimensions of the pandemic. Owing to its success, the said webinar series continues until the end of 2021.
Then Council Vice President and Medical Sciences Division Chair, Dr. Raul V. Destura, who delivered the last conference’s virtual plenary presentation on Global Health Risks, was also widely cited for having developed the first local test kit for COVID-19.
Attached to the Department of the Science and Technology, the NRCP serves as a think-tank on issues of national interest, and funds research on a wide array of disciplines, particularly those that are transdisciplinary in approach.
(George Robert E. Valencia III, NRCP OED)