DOST recognizes scientific contributions of National Scientist Angel Alcala

National Scientist Dr. Angel C. Alcala (DOST)

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) mourned the death of National scientist Dr. Angel C. Alcala, recognizing the latter's contributions and research works on marine biodiversity and marine conservation.

Alcala, who died last Feb. 1 at the age of 93, was a marine biologist, herpetologist, research advocate, civil servant, and an acclaimed scientist, the DOST said.

“As a well renowned scientist, he was recognized for his outstanding scientific contributions to the systematics, ecology, and diversity of amphibians and reptiles and marine biodiversity, reef fishes, and conservation of marine protected areas,” the DOST said in a statement.

“His research and advocacy for marine no-take zones led to a national policy and program that established no-take marine protected areas all over the country and became a model of coastal resource management and conservation that many countries have adopted,” it added.

Alcala graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree from Silliman University in 1951. He completed his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences at Stanford University in California in 1960 and 1966, respectively, the DOST said.

The national scientist also received honorary doctorates from Xavier University and the University of Southeastern Philippines, the DOST said.

Alcala was also an instructor in Biology at Silliman University and handled various high-ranking positions, including dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, director of the Marine Laboratory, and eventually president of the University from 1991 to 1992, the DOST said.

"He founded the Silliman Marine Laboratory, which has been active in research on marine protected areas, fisheries and marine biodiversity, mariculture, and conservation of Philippine plant and animal species," the DOST said.

"His marine science publications consist of about 80 papers on coral reef fish, marine reserves, and the long-term effects of protection on marine biodiversities such as corals and top predatory fish. Most of these papers have been published in refereed, international journals and books," it added.

He also served as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary from 1992 to 1995. Alcala then was designated as chairman of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) from 1995 to 1999.

It was in 2014 that former President Benigno Aquino III conferred Alcala the Order of National Scientist. The said title is the "highest recognition given to a Filipino man or woman of science in the Philippines who has made outstanding contributions in one of the different fields of science and technology," the DOST said.

Alcala also received various awards such the Ilaw ng Karunungan Award for Biological Sciences by the Philippine Fulbrighters’ Association in 1983, Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1992, Outstanding Men and Women of Science by the Department of Science and Technology in 2009, and Gregorio Y. Zara medal for Basic Science by the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science, Inc. (PhilAAS) in 2011, among others, the DOST said.