President Benigno Aquino III conferred the rank of National Scientist on Silliman University (SU)’s former president, Dr. Angel C. Alcala, last Aug.12 at the Malacañang Palace.
The title “National Scientist” is the highest rank given by the President of the Philippines to a Filipino who has made a significant contribution to one of the fields of science and technology.
National Scientists are recommended by the National Academy for Science and Technology annually “for distinguished individual or collaborative achievement in science and/or technology.”
Alcala, currently SU’s Professor Emeritus of biological sciences and member of the Board of Trustees, was honored for his “seminal and original research on the systematic, ecology, and diversity of Philippine amphibians and reptiles, and, marine biodiversity, reef fishes and conservation.”
Alcala’s work has “led to a national policy on marine no-take zones or protective areas, which has become a model of coastal resource management that has been adopted by other countries.”
He is also the recipient of many prestigious awards, two of which are the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service and the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.
Born in Caliling, Cauayan, a coastal village in Negros Occidental, Alcala was also named as Outstanding Negrense last year by the provincial government.
Alcala has served as Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary from 1992-1995 under the administration of former President Fidel Ramos. He continued his public service when he served as Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman from 1995-1999.
Alcala, who is considered as the “father of biodiversity conservation program” in the country, has served as consultant on marine and aquatic projects under numerous international programs.
Alcala graduated magna cum laude from SU in 1951 with a degree in Biology. He proceeded to Stanford University for his M.A. in Biology Sciences under a Fulbright-Smith Mundt scholarship. He later returned to Stanford to finish his doctoral studies.
In 1988, he was named Outstanding Sillimanian and is presently the chairman of the Silliman University Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management.
Alcala is the second National Scientist who came from SU, the first one being the late Dr. Clara Y. Lim- Sylianco.
SU has not only produced two National Scientists, but also two National Artists: Dr. Edith Tiempo in Literature and Eddie Romero in Cinema and Broadcast Arts.
Alcala was awarded at the Malacañang Palace with three other scientists who have also made significant contributions to science and technology.
*With notes from interaksyon. com,inquirer.com,andsu.edu.ph
By Stephanie Ria Colinco