The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) was established 80 years ago through the passage of Act 4120 by the Ninth Philippine Legislature on December 8, 1933, primarily to promote and support research along various scientific disciplines. Since then, the NRCP has remained steadfast in its mandates and continues to uphold research projects necessary for the attainment of sustained economic growth and the Filipinos' well-being.

For eight decades now, the NRCP has been renowned for ground-breaking discoveries of novel knowledge, scientific approaches, and applications to resolve problems of national concern. These include: the selection of high grade rice strains, the genetic enhancement of the Philippine carabao, the determination of the physiology and tissue culture of the Philippine coconut and makapuno, the development of commercial uses of avocado oil, and the introduction of biological pest control and rat control methods, which all effectively addressed the problems in the agriculture sector.

On the health front, noteworthy were: the laboratory and scientific protocols for diagnosis and early detection and prevention of cancer alongside with the cure and eradication of malaria and the use of Philippine herbs as source of alternative and low-cost medicine and cure. These were cost-effective contributions to the improvement of the delivery of health services, particularly to poor communities. In the early '70s, the NRCP supported seminal work on cone snail venom research that eventually led to the discovery of many neuropeptides and the development of a very potent drug against pain.

On technological advancement, the NRCP's significant contributions were: the geographical mapping of the Philippine archipelago, the establishment of geothermal plants for alternative and natural source of energy, the development of dye laser, plasma device, and transmission of digital data - all of which became vital components of the country's rapid and inclusive economic growth.

This March 13, 2013, the NRCP will hold its 80th General Membership Assembly at the Historic Landmark Manila Hotel - a kick-off activity for the 80th Foundation Anniversary celebration on December 8, 2013. This 80th meeting will be attended by hundreds of member-researchers, scientists, and technologists coming from the various parts of the Philippines. They will discuss their plans and strategies to implement the new NRCP program AKBAY - Agham para sa Kaunlaran ng Bayan (Science for Nation's Progress), which primarily aims to expand the reach of science and technology to the farthest parts of the Philippines.

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary, Dr. Arsenio M. Balicasan will deliver the keynote address on the theme "Expanding the Reach of Science and Technology." His speech may touch on some critical indicators of Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 and point out the pivotal role of the science community, particularly the members of the NRCP- Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in attaining the goals of this five-year plan.

Former DOST Secretary Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr. will present research-based policy recommendations to enhance innovation and attain a more competitive standing for the Philippines.

DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo will also dsicuss the recently launched DOST project - SMARTER Philippines. This program will use ICT as the enabling tool to provide more efficient and reliable services in some priority industries in the country.

The meeting will be highlighted with the recognition of outstanding men and women in research in the 13 scientific disciplines, including the social sciences and humanities. They will be recognized for their outstanding research performance in 2012. In 2012, DOST Secretary Montejo called for the support of the NRCP Members in his quest to refocus all research efforts towards the attainment of new technologies, innovations, and discoveries relevant to sustainable inclusive development.

We congratulate the National Research Council of the Philippines headed by its President Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz and Vice President Dr. Ester B. Ogena, other Officers and Staff, on the occasion of its 80th General Membership Assembly. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY! s

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