National Scientist and L’Oreal-UNESCO Awardee Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz was recently elected president of the Governing Board of the Department of Science and Technology’s National Research Council of the Philippines. Elected vice president is Philippine Normal University President Dr. Ester B. Ogena.
Dr. Cruz is known for her scientific contributions to the field of biochemistry, particularly on the isolation and characterization of the venom called conotoxins from marine cone snails. Aside from being recognized as National Scientist in 2008 and L’Oreal-UNESCO First Filipino Woman of Science in 2010, she was also acknowledged as one of the Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) for Biochemistry in 1986, DOST NAST Outstanding young scientist in 1981, and DOST NRCP Achievement awardee in 1982.
In 2001, Dr. Cruz established the Rural Livelihood Incubator also known as Rural LINC Program. Asked about this project in her interview with an e-magazine called “Daigdig Pinoy”, she explained, “I established the Rural LINC Program to mobilize science and technology to alleviate poverty. This project involves building a fruit processing facility run by women farmers where the indigenous tribes can sell fruits from the orchards and forest trees.”
In the same interview, she said that she is determined to improve the lives of individuals in her community and plans to use the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award money to buy a piece of land to serve as a new base for the Rural LINC program, and a site for the women’s fruit processing facility that will preserve local heritage. Dr. Cruz currently works at the laboratory of Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines Diliman. She is also DOST Member-at-Large since March 2011.
On the other hand, the newly elected DOST NRCP Vice-President Dr. Ogena served as director of the DOST Science Education Institute for several years before being elected as the 10th President of the Philippine Normal University in 2010. While working at the DOST SEI, she held various positions in international funded projects for the development of science and mathematics education in the country. She served as the program manager of the Science and Mathematics Education Component of the DOST World Bank Engineering and Science Education Project.
Her dynamic educational research endeavors resulted in a total of 77 technical papers which she presented in local and international conferences and have been cited in local and foreign educational journals. She is also a prolific writer and editor. She published and edited a number of books in science, mathematics, and gender education.
Her dynamism towards science education earned her recognitions which include the 1992 PNU Most Outstanding Alumnus Award and 1996 National Council of Women in the Philippines Golden Award as Woman Achiever in S&T.
The National Book Development Board cited her in 2006 as one of the Champions of the Philippine Book Industry. In 2007, the DOST NRCP bestowed her with the Achievement Award for Educational Research and Leadership. And just recently, an honor society for education, Pi Lamda Theta, Philippines and the UP Diliman College of Education Alumni Association, Inc. recognized her excellent leadership in education.
Dr. Ogena is also the chairperson of the NRCP Division of Governmental, Educational, and International Policies.
Other elected officials of DOST NRCP Governing Board include Corporate Secretary and Chair of Chemical Science Division Dr. Irene M. Villaseñor of the UP Diliman Chemistry Institute, and Treasurer and chairperson of the Biological Division Dr. Maritess G. Yee of the UP Los Baños Institute of Human Nutrition and Food College of Human Ecology.
Other Filipino researchers and scientists who complete the seats in the board and serve as chairpersons to the various scientific divisions include Dr. Felix P. Muga II, associate professor in the Mathematics Department of the Ateneo de Manila University, for Mathematical Sciences Division; Dr. Isidro C. Sia, professor at the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, for Medical Sciences Division; Dr. Rosalinda C. Solevilla, retired professor of the University of Santo Tomas, for Pharmaceutical Sciences Division;
Dr. Portia G. Lapitan, professor of the Forest Biological Sciences at the College of Forestry, University of the Philippines Los Baños, for Agriculture and Forestry; Dr. Rogelio A. Panlasigui, former DOST Undersecretary for R&D and now the Dean of College of Engineering of the FEATI University, for Engineering and Industrial Research; Professor Carmencita T. Aguilar, president of the Association of Social Science Educators and Researchers (ASSERT), for Social Science Division;
Professor Felipe M. de Leon, chairperson of the National Commission of Culture and Arts; for the Humanities; Dr. Flaviana D. Hilario, deputy administrator of the DOST Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), for Earth and Space Sciences; and Dr. Grace D. de Ocampo, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of the Philippines Los Baños, for Veterinary Medicine Division.
The members of the new Governing Board have committed to set new strategies, reposition the Council’s research portfolio, and oversee that implementations of funded research projects, programs, and other initiatives towards finding immediate solutions to poverty, health, impacts of climate change, food security, and other societal problems.
The DOST National Research Council of the Philippines, established in 1933, is the first collegial and scientific advisory body of the Philippine government and now considered the oldest in Asia. To date, its roster totals 2,893 bona fide and world renowned member researchers, scientists, and technologists across its 13 scientific divisions.