National scientist Angel Alcala dies in Negros Oriental at 93
DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, Philippines — National Scientist Dr. Angel C. Alcala died in a hospital in this capital city of Negros Oriental where he was confined for the past three days. He was 93.
Alcala’s death was confirmed by his youngest son Ely and was also announced in the social media accounts of Silliman University (SU) where he studied biology and became the institution’s ninth president.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Naomi Lusoc-Alcala, and their children Angelo, Estrilda, Moses, Emily, Grace, Moses, and Ely and their families
Alcala grew up in a fishing village in Cauayan town in Negros Occidental.
The work of his father as a fisherman inspired him to pursue biology at SU in Dumaguete. He graduated magna cum laude in 1951.
He was a Fulbright scholar at Stanford University, where he also pursued graduate and postgraduate studies in the 60s. He came back to SU to teach biology. In 1974, he established the Silliman University Marine Laboratory, now called the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences.
In the 1970s, Alcala, an avid scuba diver, focused their efforts on the rehabilitation of coral reefs, establishing artificial coral reefs.
In 1991, he was appointed as the ninth president of Silliman, but he had to cut it short after two years to join the Cabinet of former President Fidel V. Ramos as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
At the time of his death, Alcala was vice chairperson of the Silliman Board of Trustees.
In 1992, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for “pioneering scientific leadership in restoring and protecting coral reefs” in the Philippines; and the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation in 1999.
He also served as chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education until 1999. He returned to the Silliman campus to continue his research in the field.
In June 2014, former President Benigno Aquino III bestowed on Alcala the Order of National Scientists of the Philippines in the field of Biological Sciences.
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