Science And Technology In The Philippines

Science and technology in the Philippines represents the wide scientific and technological advances the Philippines has made. The main managing agency responsible for science and technology (S&T) is the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The science department have consulting agencies for Forestry, Agriculture and Aquaculture, Metal Industry, Nuclear Research, Food and Nutrition, Health, Meteorological and the Volcanology and Seismology.

Numerous national scientists have contributed in different fields of science including Fe del Mundo in the field of Pediatrics, Eduardo Quisumbing in the field of Plant taxonomy, Gavino Trono in the field of tropical marine Phycology, and Maria Orosa in the field of Food technology.[1]


Pre-Spanish Period

The Banaue Rice Terraces

Even before the colonization by the Spaniards in the Philippine islands, the natives of the archipelago already had practices linked to science and technology. Filipinos were already aware of the medicinal and therapeutic properties of plants and the methods of extracting medicine from herbs. They already had an alphabet, number system, a weighing and measuring system and a calendar. Filipinos were already engaged in farming, shipbuilding, mining and weaving. The Banaue Rice Terraces are among the sophisticated products of engineering by pre-Spanish era Filipinos.[2]

Spanish Colonial Period

The colonization of the Philippines contributed to growth of science and technology in the archipelago. The Spanish introduced formal education and founded scientific institution. During the early years of Spanish rule in the Philippines. Parish schools were established where religion, reading, writing, arithmetic and music was taught. Sanitation and more advanced methods of agriculture was taught to the natives. Later the Spanish established colleges and universities in the archipelago including the University of Santo Tomas.[2]

The study of medicine in the Philippines was given priority in the Spanish era, especially in the later years. The Spanish also contributed to the field of engineering in the islands by constructing government buildings, churches, roads, bridges and forts.[2] Biology is given focus. Contributors to science in the archipelago during the 19th century were botanists, Fr. Ignacio Mercado., Dr. Trinidad Pardo de Tavera and Dr. Leon Ma Guerrero, chemist Anaclento del Rosario, and medicine scholars Dr. Manuel Guerrero, Dr, Jose Montes and Dr. Elrodario Mercado.[3]

The Galleon Trade have accounted in the Philippine colonial economy. Trade was given more focus by the Spaniard colonial authorities due to the prospects of big profits. Agriculture and industrial development on the other hand were relatively neglected.[3] The opening of the Suez Canal saw the influx of European visitors to the Spanish colony and some Filipinos were able to study in Europe who were probably influenced by the rapid development of scientific ideals brought by the Age of Enlightenment.[3]

American Period and Post-Commonwealth era

Angel Alcala, national scientist, is seen wearing deep blue and yellow academic gown with cap, deep blue with gold tassel.
Angel Alcala is a national scientist noted for his work in marine and aquatic biology.

The progress of science and technology in the Philippines continued under American rule of the islands. On July 1, 1901 The Philippine Commission established the Bureau of Government Laboratories which was placed under the Department of Interior. The Bureau replaced the Laboratorio Municipal, which was established under the Spanish colonial era. The Bureau dealt with the study of tropical diseases and laboratory projects. On October 26, 1905, the Bureau of Government Laboratories was replaced by the Bureau of Science and on December 8, 1933, the National Research Council of the Philippines was established.[2] The Bureau of Science became the primary research center of the Philippines until World War II.[4]

Science during the American period was inclined towards agriculture, food processing, forestry, medicine and pharmacy. Not much focus was given on the development of industrial technology due to free trade policy with the United States which nurtured an economy geared towards agriculture and trade.[4]

In 1946 the Bureau of Science was replaced by the Institute of Science. In a report by the US Economic Survey to the Philippines in 1950, there is a lack of basic information which were necessities to the country's industries, lack of support of experimental work and minimal budget for scientific research and low salaries of scientists employed by the government. In 1958, during the regime of President Carlos P. Garcia, the Philippine Congress passed the Science Act of 1958 which established the National Science Development Board.[4]

Marcos Era and Martial Law

During Ferdinand Marcos' presidency, the importance given to science grew. In the amended 1973 Philippine Constitution, Article XV, Section 9 (1), he declared that the "advancement of science and technology shall have priority in the national development."[5] In his two terms of presidency and during Martial Law, he enacted many laws promoting s

In his Second State of the Nation Address on January 23, 1967, he declared that science was necessary for the development programs, and thus, directed the Department of Education to revitalize the science courses in public high schools. The Department of Education, with the National Science Development Board (NSDB), is organizing a project to provide selected high schools with science teaching equipment over a four-year period.[6]

In his Third State of the Nation Address on January 22, 1968, he recognized that technology was the leading factor in economic development, and channeled additional funds to support projects in applied sciences and science education.[7]

In his Fourth State of the Nation Address on January 27, 1969, he gave a big part of the war damage fund to private universities to encourage them to create courses in science and technology and to research. He stated that he planned a project to have medical interns do a tour of duty in provincial hospitals to arouse their social conscious and reduce the "brain drain." On April 6, 1968, he proclaimed 35 hectares in Bicutan, Taguig, Rizal as the site of the Philippine Science Community. The government also conducted seminars for public and private high school and college science teachers, training programs and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate science scholars, and workshops on fisheries and oceanography.[8]

In his Fifth State of the Nation Address on January 26, 1970, he emphasized that the upgrading of science curricula and teaching equipment is crucial to the science development program. He added the Philippine Coconut Research Institute to the NSDB to modernize the coconut industry. The NSDB also established the Philippine Textile Research Institute. The Philippine Atomic Energy Commission of the NSDB explored the uses of atomic energy for economic development. Marcos assisted 107 institutions in undertaking nuclear energy work by sending scientists to study nuclear science and technology abroad, and providing basic training to 482 scientists, doctors, engineers, and technicians.[9]

In his Seventh State of the Nation Address on January 24, 1972, he spoke about his major development projects in reforming sectors of education. Such projects included research and development schools, technical institutes, science education centers, and agricultural colleges and vocational high schools.[10]

In 1972, he created the National Grains Authority to provide for the development of the rice and corn industry to fully harness it for the economy of the country. (Presidential Decree No. 4, s. 1972)[11] He established the Philippine Council for Agricultural Research to support the progressive development of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries for the nation. It was attached to the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources for administrative purposes.[12] He provided further support for the promotion of scientific research and invention with Presidential Decree No. 49, s. 1972. This decree contains details on the protection of intellectual property for the creator or publisher of the work.[13] He established the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) under the Department of National Defense to provide environmental protection and to utilize scientific knowledge to ensure the safety of the people. (Presidential Decree No. 78, s. 1972)[14]

In 1973, he created the Philippine National Oil Company to promote industrial and economic development through effective and efficient use of energy sources. (Presidential Decree No. 334, s. 1973)[15]

In 1976, he enacted a law under Presidential Decree No. 1003-A, s. 1976 to establish the National Academy of Science and Technology, which is composed of scientists with "innovative achievement in the basic and applied sciences," to serve as a reservoir of scientific and technological expertise for the country.[16]

In 1978, he created a Task Force on the formulation of a national action program on science and technology to assess policies and programs of science and technology. (Executive Order No. 512, s. 1978)[17] In his Fourteenth State of the Nation Address on July 23, 1979, he said that the government invested funds and time in organizations for scientific research, such as the NSDB, the Philipping Council for Agricultural Research and Resources, the Plant Breeding Institute, the International Rice Research Institute, the Bureau of Plant Industry, and the Bureau of Forest Products. While these projects have had breakthroughs, the market machinery did not adapt and invest in this technology due to the high-risk front-end costs.[18]

In 1979, he constituted the Health Sciences Center created by R.A. No. 5163 as an autonomous member within the University of the Philippines System to improve the internal organization and unity of leadership within its units. (Executive Order No. 519, s. 1979)[19]

In 1980, he created the National Committee on Geological Sciences to advise government and private entities on matters concerning development in geological sciences. (Executive Order No. 625, s. 1980)[20]

In 1982, he reorganized the National Science Development Board and its agencies into a National Science and Technology Authority to provide central direction and coordination of scientific and technological research and development. (Executive Order No. 784, s. 1982)[21] He granted salary increases to the people with teaching positions in the Philippine Science High School due to their necessity in the advancement of national science. (Executive Order No. 810, s. 1982).[22] He enacted a law on the completion of the National Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Complex at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños. (Executive Order No. 840, s. 1982)[23]

In 1986, he established the Mindanao and Visayas campuses of the Philippine Science High School to encourage careers in science and technology and to be more accessible to the talented students in the Mindanao and Visayas areas. (Executive Order No. 1090, s. 1986)[24]

Fifth Republic

Filipina food technologist Maria Y. Orosa (1893-1945) is credited with inventing banana ketchup.[25][26]

In 1986, during Corazon Aquino's presidency, the National Science and Technology Authority was replaced by the Department of Science and Technology, giving science and technology a representation in the cabinet. Under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan for the years 1987-1992, science and technology's role in economic recovery and sustained economic growth was highlighted. During Corazon Aquino's State of the Nation Address in 1990, she said that science and technology development shall be one of the top three priorities of the government towards an economic recovery.[4]

In August 8, 1988, Corazon Aquino created the Presidential Task Force for Science and Technology which came up with the first Science and Technology Master Plan or STMP. The goal of STMP was for the Philippines to achieve newly industrialized country status by the year 2000.[4] The Congress did not put much priority in handling bills related to science and technology. The Senate Committee on Science and Technology was one of the committees that handles the least amount of bills for deliberation.[4]

Former DOST Secretary Ceferin Follosco reported that the budget allocation for science and technology was increased to 1.054 billion pesos in 1989 from the previous year's 464 million pesos. However, due to the Asian financial crisis, budget allocation for the years 1990 and 1991 were trimmed down to 920 and 854 million pesos respectively. Budget allocation were increased to 1.7 billion pesos in 1992.[4]

During her term, President Corazon Aquino encouraged scientists and inventors to bring the Philippines to its former position as second to only Japan in the field of science and technology. One of the goals of her administration was to achieve the status as being an industrialized country by 2000. She urged that the private research sector form a stronger bond between public research to help jump-start the progress in the area of Philippine Research and Development.[27]

Ironically, it was during President Corazon Aquino's term and the reorganization of Philippine bureaucracy that Executive Order No.128 abolished R.A. No. 3859, also known as the "Philippine Inventors Incentive Act." This Philippine Inventors Commission was under the Science Development board. It gave assistance to Filipino inventors through giving financial aid, patent application assistance, legal assistance, and to help inventors market their products domestically and abroad.[28] Despite the abolishment of the Philippine Inventors Commission, her administration gave rise to new avenues for the government to aid the progress of Science and Technology in the country.

R.A. 6655 or the Free Public Secondary Education Act of 1988 opened doors to free education up to the secondary level, implemented in the education system together with this was the "Science for the Masses Program" which aimed at scientific and technological literacy among Filipinos. The Aquino administration recognized the importance of science and technology in the development of the Philippines into a newly industrialized country. Funding for the science and technology sector was tripled from 464 million in 1986 to 1.7 billion in 1992. The Science and Technology Master Plan was formulated which aimed at the modernization of the production sector, upgrading research activities, and development of infrastructure for science and technological purposes. A Research and Development Plan was also formulated to examine and determine which areas of research needed attention and must be given priority. The criteria for identifying the program to be pursued were, development of local materials, probability of success, potential of product in the export market, and the its strategic nature. The grants for the research and development programs was included in the Omnibus Investment Law.[1]

There were noticeable improvements regarding science and technology as stated in President Fidel Ramos' State of the Nation Address. In his third SONA, there was a significant increase in personnel specializing in the science and technology field. At 1998, the Philippines was estimated to have around 3,000 competent scientists and engineers. Adding to the increase of scientists would be the result of the two newly built Philippine Science High Schools in Visayas and Mindanao which promotes further development of young kids through advance S&T curriculum.[29] The government provided 3,500 scholarships for students who were taking up professions related to S&T. Schools were becoming more modernized and updated with the addition of high-tech equipment for student improvement and teachers were getting training programs to benefit themselves and their students. Health care services were promoted through local programs such as "Doctors to the Barrio Program." The health care programs were innovative and effective as shown by the change in life expectancy from 67.5 years in 1992 to 69.1 years in 1995.[30]

Priority for S&T personnel increased when Magna Carta for Science and Technology Personnel (Republic Act No. 8439) was established. The award was published in order to give incentives and rewards for people who have been influential in the field of S&T. In the sixth SONA, education was one of the primary story-lines wherein programs such as National Program for Gifted Filipino Children in Science and Technology and enactment of a law creating a nationwide system of high schools specializing in the field of science and engineering.[31]

Fidel V. Ramos believes that science and technology was one of the means wherein the Philippines could attain the status of new industrialized country (NIC). During his term, he was able to establish programs that were significant to the field of S&T. In 1993, Science and Technology Agenda for National Development (STAND) was established. Among its priorities were: (1) exporting winners identified by the DTI; (2) domestic needs identified by the President's Council for Countryside Development; (3) support industries and (4) coconut industry development. Congress, during his term, was able to enact laws that were significant for the field. Among were: (1) Magna Carta for Science and Technology Personnel (Republic Act No. 8439); (2) Science and Technology Scholarship Law of 1994 (Republic Act No. 7687) and (3) Inventors and Inventions Incentives Act (Republic Act No. 7459). The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8293) was enacted during Ramos' term. The law provides industrial property rights, copyrights and related rights, and technology transfer arrangements.[32]

In President Joseph Estrada's term, two major legislations that he signed were Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 (Republic Act No. 8749[33]) which was designed to protect and preserve the environment and ensure the sustainable development of its natural resources, and Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8792)[34] which outlaws computer hacking and provides opportunities for new businesses emerging from the Internet-driven New Economy. Aside from these, in his first State of the Nation Address, President Estrada launched a full-scale program based on cost-effective irrigation technologies. He also announced that Dole-outs are out, which meant basic health care, basic nutrition, and useful education for those who want, but cannot afford it. Lastly, he said that they would speed up the program to establish one science high school in every province.[35] It was in his second State of the Nation Address that President Estrada announced the passage of the Clean Air Act, and the decision to pursue the 15-year modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.[36] His last State of the Nation Address pushed for the advancement of industries and schools into the Internet age, as well as the announcement of the passage of the e-Commerce Act.[37]

In the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, the science and technology sector of the Philippines was dubbed as the "golden age" of science and technology by then secretary Estrella Albastro [3]. Numerous laws and projects that concerns both the environment and science to push technology as a tool to increase the country's economic level. This is to help increase the productivity from Science, Technology and Innovations (STI) and help benefit the poor people. Moreover, the term "Filipinnovation" was the coined term used in helping the Philippines to be an innovation hub in Asia.[4]

The STI was developed further by strengthening the schools and education system such as the Philippine Science High School (PSHS), which focuses in science, technology and mathematics in their curriculum. This helps schools produce get more involve in this sector. Private sectors were also encouraged to participate in developing the schools through organizing events and sponsorships. Future Filipino scientists and innovators can be produced through this system[4]

Helping the environment was one of the focus in developing technology in the Philippines. One of the more known laws to be passed by her administration was the R.A. 9367 or the "Biofuels" act. This act promotes the development and usage of biofuels throughout the country. This potentially enables a cheaper alternative to gasoline as a medium in producing energy. Also, this benefits the environment since it boasts a cleaner emission compared to regular fuel. Yet, setbacks such as lack of raw materials is holding the full implementation of the laws since importing the necessary materials are imported more.[5] On one had, drought-free rice was also highly encouraged to by used during her term. This enables farmers to produce rice despite the environmental hazards that slows or stops the production.[3]

In an effort to improve the efficiency of both land and water, the government imposes Republic Act 10601 which improves the Agriculture and Fisheries Sector through Mechanization (AFMech). RA 10601 covers research, development, and extension (RDE), promotion, distribution, supply, assembling, manufacturing, regulation, use, operation, maintenance and project implementation of agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment (Section 4).[38]

In 2014, President Aquino conferred four new National Scientist for their contribution in the Scientific field,[39] Academicians Gavino C. Trono, Angel C. Alcala, Ramon C. Barba, and Edgardo D. Gomez was honored in their respective fields. Trono's contribution helped a lot of families in the coastal populations through the extensives studies he made on seaweed species. On the other hand, Alcala served as the pioneer scientist and advocate of coral reefs aside from his contribution in the fields of systematics, secology and herpetology. Barba's contribution changes the seasonal supply of fresh fruits to an all year round availability of mangoes through his studies on the induction of flowering of mango and micropropagation of important crop species. Lastly, Gomez steered the national-scale assessment of damage coral reefs which led a national conservation.

Science and Technology Fields

Life Sciences

Life Sciences is a very broad field, it encompasses numerous specializations. It is commonly defined by sciences that pertain to living organisms like microorganisms, plants, animals, and most importantly human beings. Some of the well-known fields in the Life Sciences are zoology, botany, biology, microbiology, biotechnology, and biomedical technologies.

In the Philippines, the various fields of the Life Sciences is under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). This government office is responsible for the coordination and funding of different researches by Filipino scientists and inventors, which can potentially help the progress of science and technology in the Philippines. There are different agencies under DOST which cater to specialized fields, these are the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research Development (PCAARRD). The Secretary of Science and Technology is appointed by the president of the Republic of the Philippines, and this position has no fixed term. The incumbent Secretary of Science and Technology is Mario G. Montejo, a professor of the University of the Philippines Diliman, he was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III on June 29, 2010.

Botany and Biology

Botany and biology are two of the highly sought-after research topics in the Philippines, given its rich biodiversity in flora and fauna.

Eucheuma denticulatum, a species of red alga that naturally exists in the country.
Eucheuma denticulatum is a species of red alga that naturally exists in the country.

Several Filipino scientist have pioneered in the field of biology. Eduardo Quisumbing, a biologist who graduated MS in Botany at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 1921, and Ph.D. in Plant Taxonomy, Systematics and Morphology at the University of Chicago in 1923. He conducted research on taxonomic and morphological papers deal with orchids[40] and authored the book Medicinal Plants of the Philippines.[41] The species of Saccolabium quisumbingii was named after him. Dioscoro L. Umali, is an agriculturist that was dubbed as the Father of Philippine Plant Breeding due to the programs he conducted that are related to rainfed and upland agriculture, social forestry, and environmental preservation.[42] Marine biologist helped improve the knowledge on aquatic resources like Angel Alcala, a biologist who was recognized for his research on amphibians and reptiles diversity and marine biodiversity in the country and served as consultant on marine and aquatic projects under the United Nations Environment Programme, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others,[43]Gavino Trono, a biologist who was dubbed as the Father of Kappaphycus farming for his contributions to the study of tropical marine phycology, focusing on seaweed biodiversity, established the largest phycological herbarium in the country - the G.T. Velasquez Herbarium in the University of the Philippines' Marine Science Institute, and authored a book that was considered as the most authoritative books in the country on the seaweed flora titled Field guide and atlas of the seaweed resources of the Philippines.[44]


The Philippines Biofuel Act of 2006, RA 0376 mandates an increase of the minimum 5% bioethanol blend (E5) in gasoline to 10% ethanol blend (E10). In 2011, 600 million liters of gasoline was consumed by car owners in the Philippines, if the 10% bioethanol blend would be followed, this would be equivalent to 1 million metric tons of sugar.

Ethanol is an alcohol produced from fermenting carbohydrates in plants. Bioethanol can be produced mainly from three different kinds of raw materials, namely simple sugars, starch, and lignocellulosic biomass. Since the prices of the raw materials are very volatile and can easily change, lignocellulosic biomass has been extensively studied due to its cheap price and abundance in agricultural countries like the Philippines. Some of the top sources of lignocellulosic biomass are forest residues, municipal solid wastes, and agricultural wastes like sugarcane baggase, nipa sap, rice straws, etc.[45]

Numerous studies have been done by Filipino scientists on what raw material should be used to achieve an efficient and cost-effective bioethanol production. Studies on nipa sap showed that molasses is still more advantageous to use, as for the same amount of bioethanol produced, a greater amount of nipa sap was needed compared to molasses.[46] A study by Tan et al.reports on corn as being viable for bioethanol production, and could give a yield of around 0.37 Liters per kilogram of corn used.[47] Other studies showed that sugarcane juice produced approximately 70 Liters per ton of sugar, but using sugracane juice as the primary feedstock for bioethanol production, would be problematic, as this would mean that it would be competing with the sugar production in the country. These problems have pushed Filipino scientists today, to continue searching for alternatives to sugarcane. One of the most promising fields is the study of lignocellulosic agricultural wastes, as they are abundant and very cheap.

A study by Del Rosario in 1982 identified sweet sorghum as a possible source of ethanol, it is a very adaptive crop which can withstand drought and grow in the low-lands as well as in the high lands.[48] A study by the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) showed that the production costs for sweet sorghum is higher than sugarcane by 4.28%, but this is balanced out by the grain yield of 1 ton per hectare. In 2007, the University of Philippines-Los Banos, together with the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and ICRISAT conducted studies on sweet sorghum as feedstock for bioethanol production.

In 2013 the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) announced that the country may start producing its first sweet sorghum-based bioethanol. The Philippine National Oil Co. -Alternative Fuels Corp and the San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. are discussing on creating a 1,000 hectare sweet sorghum plantation solely for the purpose of using the produce as feedstock for bioethanol production.[49]


Engineering is the field of science that applies both science and math to solve problems. It concerns the use of technology in practical ways that can advance the human condition. Some of the fields of engineering include mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, structural engineering, and industrial engineering.[50]

In the Philippines, many organizations and research institutes for engineering were established, such as the National Engineering Center and the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers.

The National Engineering Center (NEC) was first established on January 27, 1978 as the research arm of the University of the Philippines College of Engineering. It absorbed the UP Industrial Research Service Center, the National Hydraulic Research Center, the Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry, the Transport Training Center, and the Building Research Service.[51]

The Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) was the result of the merging of two separate civil engineer organizations, the Philippine Society of Civil Engineers (PSCE) and the Philippine Association of Civil Engineers (PACE), on December 11, 1973. It was given accreditation by the Professional Regulation Commission on August 13, 1975 as the only official recognized organization of civil engineers in the Philippines.[52] It was established to advance the knowledge and research and to maintain high ethical standards of civil engineering.[53]

The University of the Philippines also established the National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) to contribute to scholarly research and training in the field of transportation. They advocate sustainable transport, integrated transport system, road safety, and institutional development.[54] They release advisories and feature studies by both undergraduate and graduate students on transportation. For example, the NCTS website links to downloads of Emer T. Quezon's research into the effects of flyover construction on traffic flow in Nagtahan and R. Magsaysay Boulevard intersection in 1994,[55] as well as the research of Franklyn T. Amistad and Jose Regin F. Regidor, Dr. Eng. researched into ways to improve traffic management and congestion in Vigan without sacrificing its legacy as a World Heritage Site.[56]

Ricardo G. Sigua is a professor who contributed to engineering research in the Philippines. Sigua, a professor at the Institute of Civil Engineering in the University of the Philippines, Diliman, wrote a book called The Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering due to the scarcity of textbooks on the traffic engineering relevant to the Philippine context. His book covers topics such as traffic management and regulations, traffic flow, traffic studies, intersection design and control, geometric design of highways, road safety, traffic accident analysis, travel demand forecasting, the origin-destination table (OD Matrix), and the intelligent transportation system.[57]

Agriculture and Aquaculture

Agriculture is the field in science wherein it concerns with the different techniques of land cultivation, crop and livestock raising, or otherwise, farming.[58] The Department of Agriculture (Philippines) (DA) is a government agency responsible for the development of the Philippine's agriculture by generating policies, investments, and support services which are significant in the local and export-oriented trade.[59] In the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), Chapter 4: Competitive and Sustainable Agriculture and Fisheries Sector, both agriculture and fisheries sector provides the needs and raw materials for the market and surplus labor to the industry and service sectors. The focus for improvement would be to generate more opportunities of employments and increased income for the farmers which would encourage participation from them. Development of the agricultural sector is critical in maintaining an affordable price for food especially for the poor which, then, could be translated to inclusive growth and poverty reduction.[59] Proceso J. Alcala is a former district representative and the recently appointed DA secretary by President Benigno Aquino III on 2010. He is considered the 'Father of Organic Agriculture' because of his work in the Organic Agricultural Act of 2010 (RA 10068).[60]

Developments regarding the research and technology of Philippine agriculture are currently in the works. Most of the researches are inclined in solving the problem of increasing hunger in the country by creating a more efficient and cheaper process of yielding produce. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is an international research consortium, including the Philippines, which serves to improve the rice production and quality through biotechnology and research. One of their ongoing research involves changing the normal C3 carbon fixation mechanism of rice into a supercharged photosynthetic mechanism, C4 carbon fixation. Converting rice from a C3 plant into a C4 plant would be beneficial because the latter can efficiently produce more yield than the former in a given and limited amount of resources (land, water, and fertilizer) which bodes well to the Philippines' situation.[61] IRRI have made calculations which shows that converting rice into a C4 plant would increase the yield at around 30-50%, demonstrating a double water-use efficiency, and providing more at less fertilizer usage.[61] Other rice varieties have been developed to increase efficiency without sacrificing the quality too much. PSB Rc26H (Magat), PSB Rc72H (Mestizo), and PSB Rc76H (Panay) are some of the rice hybrids developed but only Mestizo is currently available for planting. The texture and taste quality of Mestizo is comparable to the normal grain, IR64.[62]

Overall records and statistics about Philippine agricultural growth is provided by the CountrySTAT Philippines. In 2014, gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 6.13%. The gross value added (GVA) in agriculture and fishing went up by 1.60% and this accounted for 10% of the GDP increase. There was an increase in the production of livestock rated at 1.01%. Gross outputs of the following livestock showed an increase at different rates: hog, cattle, carabao, goat, chicken, duck, and other products such as chicken eggs and dairy. There was an increase in the prices of different produce such as crops, fruits, and livestock and a decrease in the prices of vegetables. Food and other non-alcoholic beverage had an increase of 6.68%. Earnings from exports increased by 5.78% and top earners were from coconut oil and banana. Expenditures for imports increased by 19.86% and the highest spending were from wheat and milk products. The labor force totaled to 40.05 million and 11.21 million were employed in the agriculture sector which was around 30% of the national employment.

Metal Industry

This industry deals with the creation and innovation of metallic and steel products. The metal/steel industry have shown remarkable technological dynamism over the centuries and with the growing product innovation, there have been a great significance on the steels' economic and political influence.[63] The Philippines have become part of the growing revolution of the industry. The Metal Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) is a government agency under the Department of Science and Technology that supports the local metals and engineering industry through support services enhancing the industry's competitive advantage. The agency's mission would consist of providing both public and private sectors with professional management and technical expertise, quality control, research and development, technology transfer, and business advisory services.[64]

MIRDC have been cooperating with different organizations to create technology for various improvements and purposes. The Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) System and the Road Train were unveiled to the public during the annual Lantern Parade in the University of the Philippines Diliman. It was a collaboration between UP Diliman and MIRDC for the purpose of faster travel time for students in UP and the public. It had two stations, one located along C.P. Garcia and the other one is along the University Avenue.[65] The Hand Tractor was from the works of both MIRDC and Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech). The concept of the equipment is a transplanter-attached hand tractor and harvester-attached hand tractor wherein rice transplanting and harvesting implements are readily available from the tractor. Farmers would benefit from this because of the reduced cost and more utilization of hand tractor.[66]

Statistics of recent steel and steel-related industry developments were published by the Census of Philippine Business and Industry (CPBI) of the National Statistics Office (NSO) with 2001 as the reference year. The industry totaled to 1,895 establishment which is 29.6% of the manufacturing firms. Of all the establishments, 403 or 21.3% of the steel industries were from intermediate steel sector and 1,246 were from manufacturing industries. The steel industry was able to contribute 369,985 worker to the manufacturing sector. Total compensation paid by the steel industry reached to P47.9 billion which was about 41.2% of the total salaries and employers' contributions SSS/GSIS. The total expenses made by the industry was valued at P692.6 billion which accounted for 48.8% of the costs made by the manufacturing establishments. The total output of the industry was estimated at P832 billion which accounted for 46.3% of the manufacturing output valued at P1,795.8 billion.[67]

Food and Nutrition

Food science or nutritional science is the field of science studying the nature of foods and the natural changes in them resulting from handling and processing.[68] It is the science concerned with food and nourishment and the role of nutrients in health. In the Philippines, food and nutrition research investigates the ideal diet for Filipinos to solve the problem of malnutrition and the current state of nutrition.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) is the principal research arm of the Philippine government in food and nutrition. It was first created in 1947 as the Institute of Nutrition to serve as a clearing-house of data and information regarding nutrition.[69] In 1949, it was authorized to conduct research in the applied science of food, as well.[70] The FNRI was reorganized in Executive Order No. 128, s. 1987 to redefine its mandate to research food and nutrition in order to research and identify solutions to malnutrition problems, develop programs, projects, and policies to address malnutrition, and disseminate these findings.[71] In accordance with these functions, the Food Composition Laboratory was established. Now known as the Food Analytical Service Laboratory (FASL), it is the pioneering laboratory researching into the food and nutrient composition of Philippine foods. Their services include chemical testing, microbiological testing, physico-chemical testing, and research and consultancy services.[72] FNRI also develops simple recipes for small scale and household use, especially for the consumption by infants and children. They provide the nutritional information, properties and even market potential.[73]

Aside from the FNRI, Philippine scientists have been researching into food science. Patricia T. Arroyo, Ph.D., an assistant professor and chairman of the Department of Fisheries Technology of the University of the Philippines, Diliman wrote The Science of Philippine Foods as a reference for students of food chemistry and food technology to be used instead of foreign books. This book is a compilation of scattered literature about Philippine foods and contains information about the structure, composition, methods in preparation, standards of quality, preservation, and experiments about various food such as eggs, rice, red meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, fats, oils, milk, milk products, wheat, flour, and sugar.[74]

Maria Ligaya T. Braganza, Ed.D, the Dean of the School of Food Science and Technology at the Philippine Women's University conducts applied researches on food and product development.[75] One of her studies investigates the use of banana flour as a wheat flour extender in pan de sal and doughnuts.[76]

Ame P. Garong, a museum researcher at the National Museum of the Philippines, published Ancient Filipino Diet: Reconstructing Diet from Human Remains Excavated in the Philippines based on her doctoral dissertation. Using isotope analysis, she reconstructed the diet from the archaeological human remains from different burial sites in the Philippines. Based on the bone, hair, muscle samples and plant and animal tissues, Garong traced the diet of ancient Filipinos. Filipinos in the pre-colonial and early colonial past ate mostly aquatic resources (such as marine fish, freshwater shellfish, and coral reef resources). Some samples showed that the ancient Filipinos practiced prolonged breast feeding.[77]


One aspect of healthcare is the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases; the other pertains to provisions for medical care for people in the community. In the Philippines, healthcare is under the Department of Health (DOH). This government office is responsible for organizing public healthcare and making sure that all Filipino citizens have access to quality health services. This office is also responsible for supervising and funding researches pertaining to new medicines and medical devices. The DOH has different bureaus, all of which have different areas of specialization, these are the Bureau of Health Devices and Technology, Bureau of Health Facilities and Services, Bureau of International Health Cooperation, Bureau of Local Health Development, Bureau of Quarantine and International Health Surveillance, and Food and Drug Administration. The DOH has a budget of Php 87.6 billion for the year 2015. The Secretary of Health is nominated by the President of the Republic of the Philippines, the incumbent Secretary of Health is Janette Garin; she was appointed last February 17, 2015.

The DOH has recently implemented the Philippines eHealth Strategic Framework and Plan (2013-2017). This focuses on the application of Information and Communications Technologies for healthcare. It draws up a long-term strategic plan for the development and implementation of eHealth services in the Philippines. It looks into realizing a national electronic public-health information systems, if this is reached, it can greatly improve the surveillance and response to health emergencies, it can also impact researches of epidemiological nature, greatly speeding up the process as sampling would be very convenient already. Another program recently started by the DOH is the Universal Health Care high Impact Five (UHC-Hi-5), which focuses on the regional operations and its convergence in high priority poverty program areas. Its goal is for tangible outputs within a 15-month period of its implementation.

Anti-cancer research

Soybean is a very sought-after crop, as its by products are used to generate bioethanol, and most importantly it is linked with cancer research. During the past decade, soybean has been extensively studied due to its 43-amino acid polypeptide called Lunasin. The anti-cancer properties of Lunasin was first discovered by Dr Alfredo Galvez and Dr. Benito de Lumen, both Filipino doctors, when they were enhancing the nutritional properties of soy protein. Dr. Galvez observed mitotic disruptive properties of Lunasin in mammalian cancer cells, he saw that it prevented normal cells from turning into cancerous cells. This eventually lead to more research about its anti-cancer properties. In 2005, Dr. de Lumen conducted an experiment on Lunasin using skin cancer mouse models, he discovered that Lunasin internalizes in mammals within minutes of exogenous application, it eventually ends up in the nucleus wherein it inhibits the acetylation of core histones. Dr de Lumen observed that in spite of Lunasin's anti-cancer properties, it does not inhibit the growth of normal mammalian cell lines.[78]

A very recent study on Lunasin showed that at certain doses, it reduced non-small cell lung cancer tumor volume by 63%, it also showed a capability of inhibiting non-small cell lung cancer cells by suppressing the cell-cycle dependent phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein.[79] More studies of Lunasin also showed that it possesses antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and a cholesterol regulating role; all of which makes it a very good potential source of dietary supplements.[80] All of these researches would have not been at the level of where it is now, if not for the Filipino doctors who first discovered Lunasin.

Social sciences

Encarnacion Alzona, the first Filipina to get a Doctor of Philosophy.
Encarnacion Alzona, the first Filipina to get a Doctor of Philosophy.

Notable Filipino scientist have been contributors in the field of social science in the country. Raul V. Fabella was an academic, economist and scientist that graduated in Seminario Mayor-Recoletos (Bachelor of Philosophy; 1970); the University of the Philippines School of Economics (Master of Arts; 1975); and Yale University (Doctor of Philosophy; 1982). He had written articles in both theoretical and applied fields: political economy and rent-seeking; the theory of teams; regulation; international economics; and mathematical economics and was associated with the concepts of "Olson ratio" in rent-seeking, egalitarian Nash bargainng solutions, and debt-adjusted real effective exchange rate.[81][82]Teodoro Agoncillo, a 20th-century Filipino historian, and received the national scientist award for his contributions in the field of history. He graduated from the University of the Philippines (Bachelor of Philosophy; 1934) and finished his Master of Arts degree in the same university in 1935. He also wrote books regarding the Philippine History like History of the Filipino People.[83]Encarnacion Alzona, a pioneering Filipino historian, educator and suffragist became the first filipina to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy. She got her degree in history and a master's degree from the University of the Philippines and later obtained another master's degree in history from Radcliffe College in 1920, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1923. She was an advocate of women suffrage in the Philippines and authored the book The Filipino Woman: Her Social, Economic and Political Status (1565-1933).[84] that stated a stable account for women despite their lack in political and social rights.[85]


Forestry is the field of science that practice planting, managing and taking care of trees. The governing body for the Philippine forestry is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). This department started way back in 1863, when the Spanish Royal Decree established the Inspeccion General de Montes. This was transformed into the Department of Interior in 1901. Then when the government reorganized, it became the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. During 1987, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was formally established. Under this department, the Forest Management Bureau was the sector that focuses on preserving the forest and the harvesting of its resources.[86]

The Philippines have an actual forest cover at 6.5 million hectares (ha) or 24% of the total land area. A lot of Filipinos rely on these resources for their survival. The country's goal is to have a sustainable forest-based industry that can contribute to the socio-economic development and support the disadvantaged sectors of society. Several projects have been started by the Forest Products Research and Development and Institute (FPRDI) to accomplish this goal. It starts with the identification of the nation's tree species. and subsequently developing the products-based industry of wood and lumber. The Institute also covers the sustainable creation of furnishings using wood, bamboo, rattan and vines.


An IRRI researcher studying rice DNA under ultraviolet light.
An IRRI researcher studying rice DNA under ultraviolet light.

International Research Organizations

National Government Research Institutions, Bureaus and Attached Agencies

Department of Science and Technology (DOST)

  • Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI)
  • Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI)
  • Forest Products Research Development Institute (FPRDI)
  • Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI)
  • Metal Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC)
  • Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI)
  • Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI)

Department of Agriculture (DA)

  • Bureau of Agricultural Research
  • National Fisheries Research and Development Institute
  • Philippine Carabao Center
  • Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization
  • Philippine Rice Research Institute

Department of Energy (DOE)

  • Energy Research and Testing Laboratory

Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR)

  • Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau
  • Environmental Research and Laboratory Services Division, Environmental Management Bureau

National Academic, Research and Professional Societies

Basic Science

  • Crop Science Society of the Philippines
  • Transportation Science Society of the Philippines
  • Philippine Physics Society
  • Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas
  • Integrated Chemists of the Philippines
  • Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas
  • Philippine Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Philippine Society for Cell Biology
  • Mathematical Society of the Philippines
  • Computing Society of the Philippines
  • Geological Society of the Philippines
  • Ecological Society of the Philippines
  • Philippine Association of Entomologists
  • Philippine Horticultural Society
  • Philippine Association of Marine Science
  • Philippine Astronomical Society
  • Philippine Meteorological Society
  • Philippine Corrosion Society

Applied Sciences

  • Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers
  • Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines
  • Society of Metallurgical Engineers of the Philippines
  • Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
  • Philippine Society of Sanitary Engineers
  • Institute of Electronics Engineers of the Philippines, Inc.
  • Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines, Inc.
  • Society of Aerospace Engineers of the Philippines
  • Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers
  • Philippine Society of Mining Engineers

Science Education in the Philippines

High School Education

Philippine Science High School System

The Philippine Science High School (PSHS) System is a specialized high school program in the Philippines under the Department of Science and Technology. It offers scholarships to students that are gifted in science and mathematics. High school students are bound by law to major in pure and applied science, mathematics or engineering. PSHS have 12 regional campuses in addition to the main campus. PSHS follows the K-12 basic education program of the government.[87]

Regional Science High School System

The Regional Science High School (RSHS) System is a specialized high school program in the Philippines under the Department of Education. RSHS have regional campuses and follows the K-12 basic education program of the government.

Tertiary Education

Various universities offers science courses that encompasses the different fields of science.

See also



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