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Duterte vows continued help for PH scientists

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday pledged to push for reforms that will help boost the capability and competency of scientists in the country. Duterte made the vow after conferring the rank and title of National Scientist on Dr. Emil Javier, an agriculture expert.

“As we bestow this honor on Dr. Javier, we reaffirm the critical role of science and technology in the development of our country,” the President said in a keynote speech delivered at Malacañan Palace.

“Be assured that my administration will continue to pursue programs and initiatives that will further enable, empower and harness the potential of the scientific community to steer our nation towards greater progress,” he added.

Through Proclamation 789 inked by Duterte on Aug. 2, 2019, Javier has been named as the country’s National Scientist.

Proclamation 789 acknowledges Javier’s work in the field of agriculture by spearheading the Institute of Plant Breeding that popularized high-yielding crops and disease-resistant varieties in the country and Asia.

The presidential proclamation notes that Javier’s service “evinces his outstanding contributions to the progress of science and technology in the Philippines and the world”.

Javier said that while he accepted the honor with “great joy,” he also felt “some pain and embarrassment” because the country has failed to fully develop the agriculture sector.

“Clearly, collectively, including myself, we have not done enough to help our farmers and fisherfolk. For far too long, we have not invested enough and allowed agriculture to stagnate,” he said in his speech.

“We can do much better if only we can put our act together,” he added.

Duterte said the entire nation was grateful to Javier’s “promising contribution to the scientific community, specifically in tropical agricultural research and crop production.

The President also recognized that Javier’s work spurred many applications in agronomy, plant breeding, seed production and management of tropical grasses and legumes, among others.

“Dr. Javier, your dedication to advance the frontiers of science and knowledge for the common good has played a significant role in alleviating poverty,” he said.

“Moreover, you have promoted sound agricultural policies and programs, massive utilization of climate and environment-friendly agricultural innovations, and improved governance and management systems to help improve the productivity of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk,” Duterte added.

The President hoped that Javier’s perseverance, curiosity, and commitment would inspire Filipinos to emulate the national scientist’s innovativeness in the science and other serious studies of environment.

“It is my hope that his success will encourage more Filipino scientists across the nation to carry on with their work and help achieve a sustainable and inclusive future for every Filipino,” he said. (PNA)

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