President Aquino Confers National Scientist Rank on Dr. Alcala
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III conferred the rank of National Scientist on Dr. Angel C. Alcala, Professor Emeritus and Member of the Board of Trustees of Silliman University, on August 12 at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañang Palace.
The Order of National Scientist is the highest honor given by the President of the Republic of the Philippines to a person of science in the Philippines who has made significant contributions in one of the different fields of science and technology.
Dr. Alcala received the Presidential Medallion in recognition of his “seminal and original research on the systematic, ecology, and diversity of Philippine amphibians and reptiles, and, marine biodiversity, reef fishes and conservation (marine protected areas).”
Among those present during the conferment ceremony were members of his family and some officials and Members of the Board of Trustees of Silliman University.
Dr. Alcala is among the country's foremost experts in marine ecosystem conservation, pioneering the concept of community-based coastal resource management and the use of artificial reefs as models for fisheries development in the Philippines.
He has written over 200 books and publications, and often serves as reference for topics on community ecology, biogeography and systematics of Philippine amphibians and reptiles. His extensive research work has received numerous awards and distinctions in the country and abroad, including the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1992 and the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.
Dr. Alcala has served as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and later, as Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education. He is also often engaged by international development organizations as a consultant.
An Outstanding Sillimanian, Dr. Alcala obtained his degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology, magna cum laude, from Silliman University in 1951. He completed his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences at Stanford University in California in 1960 and 1966, respectively.
Dr. Alcala is the second National Scientist from Silliman. The first was the late Dr. Clara Y. Lim-Sylianco who obtained three degrees from Silliman: Associate in Arts major in Chemistry in 1947, with highest honors; Bachelor of Science in 1948, magna cum laude; and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1949, magna cum laude.
In the field of culture and arts, Silliman has produced two National Artists: Dr. Edith L. Tiempo in Literature and Mr. Eddie S. Romero in Cinema and Broadcast Arts.
(Photo credits: Malacañang Photo Bureau)