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National Scientist (NS) Edgardo D. Gomez, the founding Director of Marine Science Institute (MSI) of the University of the Philippines – Bolinao Marine Laboratory, a coral reef conservation protector, has passed away on December 1, 2019.

NS Gomez was the President of the Department of Science and Technology - National Research Council of the Philippines from 2016-2017. In 1974, he joined the NRCP Division of Biological Sciences and was an active Regular Member for 45 years. After his term as President in 2017, he became the NRCP Member-at-Large until 2018.

NS Edgardo D. Gomez shares a happy moment with DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, also a former NRCP President.

NS Gomez is a marine biologist with expertise on coral reef ecology and restoration, conservation of marine resources, and reproduction of marine invertebrates and culture of giant clams. With this expertise, he established the field of marine science in the country and was instrumental in making the Philippines the leader in Asia and the Pacific Region.

NS Gomez is known as the pioneer of the world’s first national assessment of damage to coral reef. This endeavor has led to various international coral reef conservation programs like re-planting/re-building. He is also known for establishing the giant clam breeding station in Bolinao and in various coastal communities in the country and setting the research trend on ocean acidification caused by increased level of absorbed carbon dioxide.

NS Gomez served the UP-MSI as Director for a total of 20 years (1975 – 1995; 1996 - 2000). He is University Professor Emeritus since 2005. Moreover, he served as member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Western Society of Naturalist, World Mariculture Society, and the International Society for Reef Studies. In 1985, he became a founding member of the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS).

With his milestone accomplishments, NS Gomez was well acknowledged through several awards, as follows: Global 500 Roll of Honour by the United Nations Environment Programme in 1989, The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) in Science (Marine Biology) by the Philippine Jaycee Senate in 1992, Outstanding Science Administrator by the Department of Science and Technology in 1996, Gregorio Y. Zara Award (Basic Science) by the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science in 1998, and the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award by the Philippine Civil Service Commission in 2000.

 NS Gomez talks to Dr. Amelia C. Ancog (left), first woman President of NRCP from 2000-2001 and former DOST Undersecretary as former NRCP President Dr. Olivia Caoili (in blue) and NRCP Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay (right) look on during the first NRCP Presidents’ meeting in October 2016.

As President of the NRCP, Dr. Gomez was a staunch advocate for mentoring the young researchers, and for setting higher standards for its members in terms of scientific productivity as indicated by its corresponding indices such as the h-index. In his words, he says “raise the bar.”

May your legacy live on NS Gomez!