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Nat’l Scientist Emil Javier: Improving crops, farmers’ lot

Plant geneticist Emil Javier, who spearheaded the creation of the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) that popularized high-yielding crops and disease-resistant varieties, is the country’s newest national scientist.

President Duterte conferred the rank and title of national scientist on Javier, 78, who also served as president of the University of the Philippines, in issuing Proclamation No. 781. Malacañang released the proclamation on Thursday.

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The President recognized Javier’s work in agriculture, particularly the establishment of the IPB at UP Los Baños, as among “his outstanding contributions to the progress of science and technology in the Philippines and the world.”

“Javier led and promoted sound agricultural policies and programs, massive utilization of climate-resilient and environment-friendly agricultural innovations, and improved governance and management systems to help improve the livelihood of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk,” the proclamation read.

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It added: “Javier, in the pursuit of his lifelong mission to look after the needs of the poor by capitalizing on the resources of modern science, played an active role in the efforts to inform the public about the nature of science and its potential to improve people’s access to food and health, and to emphasize the need for high safety standards in both research and production of biotechnological innovations.”

Pension, other benefits

As a national scientist, Javier will receive a medallion and citation, as well as a financial gratuity with the amount to be determined by the National Academy of Science and Technology.

National scientists enjoy the same privileges as national artists, which include a monthly life pension, medical and hospitalization benefits, a place of honor at national state functions, and a state funeral.

Born in Santa Cruz, Laguna province, Javier was UP president from 1993 to 1999. It was during his term that the UP Open University, UP Mindanao and the National Institute of Biotechnology were established.

TOYM at 35

As chancellor of UP Los Baños from 1979 to 1985, he led the creation of a system of national research institutes in food and agriculture to complement the traditional academic department system.

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He obtained his bachelor of science in agriculture degree from UP in 1960 and a master of science degree in Agronomy from the University of Illinois in 1964. He received his doctorate in plant breeding from Cornell University in 1969.

In 1975, Javier received The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award in agriculture from the Philippine Jaycees at the age of 35. At the time, he was the founding director of the IPB.

While serving as UP Los Baños chancellor, he was appointed minister of science and technology by then President Ferdinand Marcos, and director general of the National Science and Technology Authority (now the Department of Science and Technology).

Shortly after the ouster of Marcos in 1986, Javier accepted a fellowship at The Hague. Three years later, he was appointed director general of the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center in Taiwan.

After his term as UP president, Javier was appointed chair of the Rome-based Technical Advisory Committee of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH

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TAGS: emil Javier, Institute of Plant Breeding, UP Los Baños
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