November 14, 2019
Academe

NRCP Marks 85th Year; Razal Asks Experts to Leave their Comfort Zone

Razal - Science and Digital News

LEAVE your comfort zone.

Be an explorer outside of your field of expertise.

The president of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) issued this call to members of the NRCP on the eve of its 85th founding anniversary.

Dr. Ramon A. Razal, NRCP president, leads today, December 10 the celebration of the council’s founding celebration at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex, Pasay City.

Razal - Science and Digital NewsNRCP NRCP president Dr. Ramon A. Razal, chairman of Agriculture & Forestry Division.

This year’s celebration revolves around the theme “Leading Frontier Research for the Filipino and the ASEAN.” ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which the Philippines is a founding member.

“NRCP experts should not just sit on their laurel, instead they should step over the borders of their respective disciplines to cope with this millennium’s varying modes and fast technological revolution, and study new possibilities of making thins happen and achieve positive change,” said Razal, who chairs the council’s Agriculture and Forestry Division.

NRCP has 13 scientific divisions, such as: Governmental, Educational and International Policies; Mathematical Sciences; Medical Sciences; Pharmaceutical Sciences; Biological Sciences; Agriculture and Forestry;

Engineering and Industrial Research; Social Sciences; Physics; Chemical Sciences; Humanities; Earth and Space Sciences; and, Veterinary Medicine.

Its division is chaired by a scientist/expert and with member researchers equipped with the expertise for their respective divisions.

Razal’s call to the NRCP’s members is for them to leave their comfort zone — meaning, their field of expertise — and explore the other divisions or fields of study.

He “enjoined the NRCP members continue embracing frontier research.”

The NRCP is the country’s first and older research council founded on December 8, 1933, with 144 pioneer member-researchers. It is one of the councils of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

For 85 long years, it has kept its tradition of producing high-value research results with positive impacts on many of the most serious problems affecting the nation.

In that span, NRCP members, who are “researchers, scientists, and technologists, and innovators has continuously work to find new solutions to the country’s old and recurring problems, particularly on health, food security and safety, environment, energy, agriculture, disaster and hazard mitigation, biodiversity, heritage, culture, governance, peace, and conflict,” the SDN — Scietch and Digital News learned through an article written by NRCP’s Joselito A. Carteciano.

Here’s part of his article send to reporters:

NRCP frontier research 

Who would have thought that something in the mud of Philippine seabeds could be tapped as sources of antibiotics, or a soil bacteria could rejuvenate a barren mined-out area into sprawling greeneries or parasites of fishes can be used as indicators of lake water pollutants? All of these would only remain in anyone’s dream and imagination until the uncharted realms of science and multitude of possibilities were explored by the members of the NRCP.

In the last 8 years, just like in the more than 8 decades of existence, a number of NRCP research activities were anchored on the ground works of the science frontier, these include: the use of crude coconut oil and water-diluted alcohol for dual fuel option for diesel engine (2008); the genomic survey of Dengue virus (2012); the bioremediation strategies for mined-out areas (2015); the potential use of ciliates and protozoans as indicators of pollutants in Lake Lanao along with its physical and chemical characterization (2015); the potential use of aquatic bacteria – Actinobacteria, as antibiotics, in the seabeds of Eastern Visayas, Luzon, Palawan, and Mindanao (2017).

Looking back

After its creation in 1933, the NRCP with its 144 pioneering member-researchers, scientists, and technologists participated in the drafting of provisions strengthening science in the country along with civil service and industry in the 1934 Philippine
Constitution.

NRCP logo 2
Pre-War discoveries

Historical records show some of NRCP’s most game-changing scientific activities and research projects completed before the devastating 1942 World War II.

NRCP’s pioneering members started conducting research projects in 1935 which were intended and focused on finding immediate solutions to problems plaguing the nation and the people.

These were the treatment of Beri-beri (1935); the climate-related infestations of locusts (1936); cultivation of edible mushrooms and the production of the
first Geological Map of the Philippines (1937); the publication of the horrifying experience of communities in the periphery of Mt. Taal in its 1754 devastating eruption and the first LeVay Gravimetric Survey that measures, define, and illustrate the geology, seismology, and topography of the islands of the country (1939); the in-depth study of various causes of lung infections (pneumonia) and tangan-tangan oil as better treatment for constipation (1940).

Post-War relevant contributions

The destruction of war did not cast down the spirits of NRCP pioneering members. Instead, it emboldened them to step over the borders of their knowledge and continued to find new horizons to develop and innovate. In 1947, NRCP initiated the government grants for the advanced education and training of local scientists here and abroad that helped intensify research activities for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country.

In the late 1949 and early 1950, NRCP revived the country’s involvement in international scientific activities and participated in a number of prestigious international gatherings of industrialists, researchers, scientists, and technologists.

In 1951, the Philippines, through the NRCP, hosted the Pacific Science Association, 8th Pacific Science Congress and 4th Far Easter Pre-Historic Congress which was attended by 1,592 delegates from 24 countries across the globe.

The eruption of Mt. Hibok – Hibok in December 1951, along with the published horrors of the eruption of Mt. Taal in 1754, the then NRCP Division of Physical and Mathematical Sciences proposed the creation of Commission of Volcanology to study volcanoes in the country and how to predict eruption to prepare the people and mitigate the disaster.

On June 20, 1952, Republic Act 766 created the Commission of Volcanology (now Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, PHIVOLCS) under the Executive Board of NRCP.

In 1960, through the research-based recommendations of the NRCP Division of Engineering and Industrial Research, geothermal energy was adopted by the Philippine government as an alternative source of energy. The country became the second largest user of geothermal energy since then.

In the 70s, NRCP researchers focused on finding solutions to health problems. Some of the breakthroughs had impacted the lives of many Filipinos particularly those who were economically disadvantaged. The continuous rise of the incidence of the blindness of children in Leyte was mitigated when NRCP research pointed out that deficiency of Vitamin A is the main cause of abnormal keratinization of the cornea or the hardening of the surface of eyes (1971).

Another NRCP research found the best immunogen agent against dengue virus (1974).

An NRCP research that has changed the landscape of coconut industry was the growing of macapuno seedlings in soil via in-vitro fertilization (1974). Before this research, there was no macapuno coconut variety.

NRCP also pioneered studies on the medicinal potentials of Vitex negundo L. or lagundi as an effective treatment against a cough (1996). (NRCP/EKU)

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