2 ‘Magnificent 9’ Members Win 2019 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award

2019 Presidential Lingkod ng Bayan Award to two members of the ‘Magnificent 9’ confirms importance of the making of Diwata-1 microstatellite.

To recall, this journalist gave the Magnificent 9 tag to the nine Filipino engineers who pioneered the design, development, and assembly of the Philippines’ first satellite in the 50-kg class in Hokkaido University (HU) and Tohoku University in Japan in 2016.

The Magnificent 9 are Harold Bryan Paler, John Leur Labrador, Benjamin Jonah Magallon, Julian Marvick Oliveros, Juan Paolo Espiritu, Ariston Gonzalez, Delburg Mitchao, Gerwin Guba, and, the only lady in the group, Kaye Kristine Vergel.

Now both working at the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ASTI), engineers Harold Bryan S. Paler and Gerwin Guba are recipients of the Malacañan Palace award administered by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) annually.

That should serve as the validation of their pioneering work for actualizing the dreams and aspirations of the Filipino nation to go and be counted in the realm of space technology development.


By EDD K. USMAN, SDN, Twitter @edd1819, Instagram @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs

ENGINEERS Harold Bryan S. Paler and Gerwin Guba can add to their growing list of feats the 2019 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award.

Paler and Guba are members of the unofficial Magnificent 9, the pioneers in the design, development, and building of the Philippines’ first-owned satellite, the 50-kg class Diwata-1, under the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) Program.

Not long after, the DOST in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), Quezon City, and other government agencies, Diwata-2 microsatellite and Maya-1 cube satellite followed.

The triumvirate of Diwata-1, Diwata-2, and Maya-1 are now in space, orbiting and taking images of the Philippines.

That, perhaps, make it official, Filipinos have joined the space age! Thanks to DOST, UPD, the two Japanese universities and their scientists and engineers, and, of course, the Magnificent 9.

Paler and Guba won the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award on September 10 as members of DOST-ASTI’s Advanced Space Technology Research and Service (ASTROS) Team.

DOST has more in its S&T sleeve as the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute’s (DOST-PNRI) Irradiation Services Team (IST) also bagged another Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award.

On an individual basis, Dr. Raul V. Destura, vice president of the National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) and chairman of NRCP’s Medical Sciences Division III, received recognition for his successful work on the early detection of dengue fever through his invention he dubbed Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit (an invention that substantially cut shorts the determination whether a person is infected with the dengue virus or not).

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de Peña has often described Destura’s invention as “life-saving” as well as money saver for patients because the result of diagnosis on suspected dengue cases can already be known in a matter of hour.

ASTRO winners bPRESIDENTIAL RECOGNITION. The DOST-ASTI’s ASTROS Team has been bestowed the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award for exemplary government service. Two of the ASTROS Team members belong to Diwata-1’s ‘Magnificent 9’ space technology pioneers. They are engineers Harold Bryan S. Paler (right) and Gerwin Guba (4th, left). From left are: Civil Service Commission Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala; President Rodrigo Roa Duterte; Engr. Alvin Retamar (chief, science research specialist, SRS); Engr. Guba,  (Supervising SRS); Engr. Joven Javier (senior SRS); Maria Cristina Manuel (SRS II); and Paler (Sr. SRS). (Photo: DOST-ASTI)

DOST-ASTI’s ASTROS Team and DOST-PNRI’s IST took their awards as part of the ceremonies for the 2019 Outstanding Government Workers Award which the Civil Service Commission (CSC) administers every year.

No less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte conferred the awards to the winners.

The President handed to the respective awardees the symbols of their recognition at the Malacañan Palace, honoring public servants who have given exemplary work performance and outstanding contributions to government service.

For their “groundbreaking contributions to the Philippine Space Technology, which places the country in the space technology map through the development of Diwata-1 and her sibling Diwata-2, the ASTROS Team received the well-deserved recognition.

The reference is the Philippines’ first satellite (the 50-kg class, Diwata-1) and later followed in space by Diwata-2 and Maya-1 cube satellite, as well as the PHL-Microsat’s  ground station dubbed the Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation (PEDRO) Center.

PEDRO marks the country’s “first ground receiving station for earth observation data; thereby making data and image generation possible for weather forecasting, disaster risk management, agricultural growth pattern detection, forest cover monitoring, cultural and historical sites monitoring, and territorial border protection.”

In an email to SDN — Science and Digital News, the DOST-ASTI said the ASTROS Team brings the value of space to the Philippines through projects and activities that have nationwide impact and multi-sectoral importance. It seeks to serve the public interest apart from extending benefits to various government agencies.  ASTROS has uniquely contributed towards public service and, to a certain degree, can be considered as one of the pioneering teams in the country’s space program initiatives.

“There’s a limit on the number of nominees but that doesn’t preclude us from nominating equally worthy individuals or teams in the succeeding years. This is not only our team’s effort, there are many people who helped us through the process,” DOST-ASTI’s ASTROS Team said collectively.

PNRI winners editedPRESIDENTIAL AWARD. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (2nd, left) and Civil Service Commission (CSC) Commissioner Alicia dela Rosa-Bala (left) are joined by the DOST-PNRI Irradiation Services Team, recipient of the 2019 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award. They (3rd from left): Aurelio Maningas, Giuseppe Filam Dean, Franklin Pares, Ms. Haydee Solomon, and Geofrey Tranquilan. (Photo: DOST-PNRI)

Aside from Paler, senior science research specialist (SRS), and Guba, supervising SRS, the ASTROS Team of space enthusiasts and advocates are engineer Alvin Retamar, chief, SRS, Maria Cristina Manuel, SRS III, and engineer Joven Javier, senior SRS.

On DOST-PNRI’s IST are Team Leader Aurelio L. Maningas, and members Giuseppe Filam O. Dean, Franklin A. Pares, Haydee M. Solomon, and Geoffrey O. Tranquilan.

On its website, the DOST-PNRI described the IST’s recognition as something that proves the quality of Filipino civil servants through nuclear science and technology.

The DOST-PNRI team won the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award “for their outstanding contributions to the country’s nuclear research program, particularly in improving the overall operations and control of irradiation facilities” at the PNRI headquarters along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.

Being managed by the team are DOST-PNRI’s Cobalt-60 Multipurpose Irradiation Facility established in 1989 and the first of its kind in the country, and the Electron Beam Irradiation Facility opened in 2014.

The DOST-ASTI is headed by Acting Director Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano; the DOST-PNRI is under Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla. (SDN)

Featured image of Diwata-1 microsatellite a file photo by SDN — Science and Digital News.


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