Featured Stories

Photo

Romulo G. Davide

DOST Academician Romulo G. Davide gets Ramon Magsaysay Award

Dr. Romulo Davide is known as the “Father of Plant Nematology” for his groundbreaking research on nematode pests that infest, debilitate, and destroy agricultural crops.

ACADEMICIAN ROMULO Davide of the Department of Science and Technology’s National Academy of Science and Technology (DOST-NAST) is one of the six Ramon Magsaysay awardees for 2012. According to the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Davide was cited for “his steadfast passion in placing the power and discipline of science in the hands of Filipino farmers, who have consequently multiplied their yields, created productive farming communities, and rediscovered the dignity of their labor.”

    Davide, 78, is known as the “Father of Plant Nematology” for his groundbreaking research on nematode pests that infest, debilitate, and destroy agricultural crops. His pioneering and significant studies include host-parasite relationships, national survey and identification of nematodes infesting economic crops, and their cultural and biological control. Said researches enriched Phlippine nematology and earned him international recognition and the distinction of being the first Filipino to be included in the “Who’s Who” in nematology.

    His researches on the cultural and biological control of nematodes have provided the Filipino farmers effective tools against
nematodes, thereby increasing yield and income. Davide developed the first Philippine biological control agent called Biocon that can be used against nematode pests attacking vegetables, banana, potato, citrus, pineapple, and rice, among others. The product is an essential practical substitute for highly toxic and expensive chemical nematicides. Biocon is sold in the country as well as in Australia and Germany.

    Davide also developed the Farmer- Scientists Research, Development, and Extension Program that empowered upland farmers in Cebu in identifying appropriate technologies for their farms, and equipped them with new knowledge and technologies. Said farmers’ productivity, as well as their entrepreneurial capability, greatly improved.Through his leadership and initiatives, this program is now adapted nationwide.

    With the support of UPLB- College of Agriculture, he introduced to farming communities the use of several high- yielding varieties of corn, root crops and legumes that improved crop productivity.

    He also introduced to farmers microbial fertilizers such as the UPLB- BIOTECH products BIO-N and NITROPLUS. These products can reduce the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers saving farmers more than Php 3,000 per hectare.

    Davide is also recipient of other prestigious awards in the past, including the Gregorio Y. Zara Award for Applied Science by the
Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science, Inc. (1986), Jose Rizal Pro Patria Gold Medal Award by the Philippine government (1994), and the Outstanding Agricultural Scientist by the Department of Agriculture (1994), among others.

    Davie acquired his BS Agriculture degree from UP Los Banos (1957), MS degree from the Oklahoma State University (1962), and his PhD from the North Carolina State University (1966).

    The Ramon Magsaysay Award, named after the late Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, was established to perpetuate the former Philippine President’s example of “integrity in government, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.” The award, considered as Asia’s Nobel Prize, was in April 1957 by the New York City- based Rockefeller Brothers Fund with the concurrence of the Philippine government.

    For 2012, six individuals received the prestigious award for their significant contributions in government service; public service;
community leadership; journalism, literature and creative communication arts; peace and international understanding; and emergent leadership. Other Magsaysay awardees for 2012 include Chen Shu-Chu from Taiwan, Kulandei Francis from India, Syeda Rizwana Hasan from Bangladesh, Yang Saing Koma from Cambodia, and Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto from Indonesia.

    Each awardee will receive certificate, Magsaysay medallion, and $50,000 cash prize during the Presentation Ceremonies on August 31, 2012 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

    The 2012 recipients are the latest additions to the 290 laureates who received Asia’s highest honor to date. DOST-NAST members
who previously received this award include Acd. Angel Alcala, Acd. Christopher Bernido and his wife Dr. Ma. Victoria Bernido, and the late National Scientist Fe del Mundo.

- S&T Post, 3rd Quarter, 2012

Interviewed by: Darvin S. Rosa