National Scientist Dr. Ramon C. Barba, who was behind the year-round availability of fresh mangoes, was laid to rest on Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in Taguig City.
The Philippine government accorded a state funeral to Barba, who was considered a “national hero” for his achievement in the field of plant physiology, focusing on the induction of flowering of mango and on micropropagation of crop species.
President Duterte described Barba’s demise as an “immense loss for the nation and the world.”
“His pioneering work on the induction of mango flowering and fruiting, as well as his propagation techniques for small plant tissues opened many opportunities for the scientific community and various industries,” he said in a message during the necrological service for Barba read by DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña.
“Through his ingenuity, he revolutionized the mango industry and allowed many farmers to enjoy the rapid production of disease-free species of important crops such as bananas and sugar cane. Indeed, his body of work has made a deep and lasting impact on agriculture and food technology.”
The Chief Executive said Barba’s decision to waive royalties from his mango induction technology is a testament of “integrity and selflessness.”
Barba secured a patent for his mango induction technology not only in the Philippines but also in other countries, such as the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand.
Countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Australia have adopted Barba’s technology.
“If Dr. Barba’s contributions have taught us anything, it is that science and technology can be used for much greater causes.”
In remembrance and to honor Barba’s life, Duterte encouraged current and aspiring scientists to keep reaching for greater heights and keep touching more lives.
“May his life inspire everyone to take part in the difficult but rewarding task of building a better nation for all,” he added.
De la Peña led the DOST family in paying tribute to the immense contributions of Barba in the field of plant physiology.
“Let us not think that his passing is a great loss to the scientific community. He may be gone but his works will continue to affect us. Books and scientific publications will continue to bear his name. We will always remember that through this great man, we are able to eat mango any time of the year.”
Barba died on Oct. 10 at the age of 82.
In 2014, late President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Order of National Scientist to Barba and fellow academicians Angel Alcala; Gavino Trono; and Edgardo Gomez.
The award is the highest recognition to an individual who earned a doctoral degree in any field of science and has made significant contributions in one of the different fields of science and technology.
Barba’s flower induction treatment is considered as the most significant breakthrough in mango research in the country.
Among the numerous awards received by Barba were the following: The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines for Agriculture by the Philippine Jaycees (1974), Rizal Pro Patria Presidential Award for Tissue Culture (1980), the Most Distinguished Alumni Award, University of the Philippines (2004), and the SEARCA-Dioscoro L. Umali Achievement Award in Agricultural Development (2011).
He was born on Aug. 31, 1939 in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte to Juan Madamba Barba and Lourdes Cabanos.