Geneticist named 43rd nat’l scientist
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday named pediatrician Carmencita Padilla the country’s 43rd national scientist for her contributions to clinical genetics and the establishment of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).
In a ceremony in Malacañang, Marcos inducted Padilla, also chancellor of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila, into the Order of National Scientists, the highest honor conferred on Filipino scientists.
Like national artists, national scientists are given a financial gratuity, monthly life pension, medical and hospitalization benefits and protocolar honor at state functions.
According to the Honors Code of the Philippines, national scientists are in the same protocolar rank as national artists and are also entitled to a state funeral “befitting a hero of the Philippines.”
There have only been 43 savants granted the title of national scientist, the last being plant geneticist and agronomist Emil Javier, also a former UP president, in 2019.
Marcos said Padilla’s medical work contributed to the passage of Republic Act No. 9288, or the Newborn Screening Act of 2004, and RA 10747 or the Rare Diseases Act of 2016.
1,000 infants saved
The Newborn Screening Act is known to have saved thousands of infants all over the country from mental retardation and death, while the Rare Diseases Act protects and promotes the right to health of the Filipino people, including the right of persons suffering from rare diseases to survive and healthy development as individuals through access to timely health information and adequate medical care.
Padilla was also recognized for spearheading the establishment of the PGC, which was at the forefront of the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
Marcos said he asked Padilla to put together a program that will support research and development activities.
At the same ceremony, the President also bestowed a Presidential Medal of Merit on lawyer Allan Gepty, assistant secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry, for his role in the country’s accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Marcos thanked Gepty for his role in the country’s ratification of the RCEP, the biggest trade bloc in the world.
Attract foreign investments
The Philippines’ participation in RCEP is expected to strengthen linkages in regional supply chains and serve as a catalyst for attracting more foreign investments into the country, he added.
“Both Dr. Padilla and Asec. Gepty exemplify what it means to be a public servant and these awards are our form of recognition and a testament to that service. Their service goes above and beyond typical duties and responsibilities and their achievements have created and will continue to create a positive and lasting impact,” Mr. Marcos said in his remarks.
“May this accomplishment reinvigorate your drive to selflessly serve the country and may you continue to be a shining example to our fellow workers in government and continue to provide inspiration for service for our fellow citizens,” he added.