National honors conferred on scientist, more R&D needed in healthcare says PBBM

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday emphasized the importance of research and development (R&D) in healthcare, saying that the country must be able to develop its own solutions to the health challenges it faces.

In a speech during the Conferment of the Order of National Scientists and the Presidential Medal of Merit, Marcos said that the Philippines needs to invest more in R&D to develop new drugs, vaccines, and other medical technologies tailored explicitly to Filipinos’ needs.

“This R&D is important not only in healthcare but in all sectors of our economy, our society – they should be given attention,” Marcos said.

He noted that research and development are crucial for the Philippines to be able to face future challenges, such as new diseases and the increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses.

“We cannot just wait for other countries to develop solutions to these problems,” Marcos said. “We need to be proactive and develop our own technologies and products that are specifically tailored to the needs of Filipinos.”

Marcos also called on the government and the private sector to work together to support research and development in the Philippines.

“We need to pool our resources and create a more conducive environment for research and development to thrive,” Marcos said. “By working together, we can make the Philippines a global leader in research and development.”

During the ceremony, Marcos also presented awards to two outstanding public servants: Dr. Carmencita Padilla and Assistant Secretary Ceferino S. Gepty.

Marcos conferred the Order of National Scientist on Dr. Padilla for their outstanding service to the country and the Filipino people.

Meanwhile, Gepty received the Presidential Medal of Merit for his meritorious achievements and services.

Padilla’s noteworthy research into national initiatives concerning newborn screening served as the foundation for the passing of the Republic Act (RA) 9288, also known as the Newborn Screening Act of 2004.

Currently, the implementation of newborn screening is carried out across more than 7,400 healthcare facilities in the nation. This initiative has played a critical role in preventing mental disabilities and fatalities among infants.

Padilla’s most recent significant contribution involves the establishment of the PGC, a multidisciplinary institution aimed at integrating fundamental and practical research for advancements in health diagnostics, therapeutic treatments, DNA forensics, preventive solutions, and the enhancement of agricultural crop varieties within the country.

Due to her accomplishments, the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) recommended honoring Padilla with an award. Her achievements have not only brought distinction and accolades to the Philippine scientific community but have also garnered recognition at the national level.

Meanwhile, Gepty currently works within the Industry Development and Trade Policy Group of the Department of Trade and Investment. This group is tasked with promoting investments in key areas related to the agency’s trade and industry development efforts.

He played a vital part in ensuring the approval of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), acknowledged as the most extensive international trade agreement globally.

Marcos praised Gepty’s role as the principal trade negotiator for the country in the RCEP. His efforts significantly contributed to the eventual endorsement of this expansive trade agreement, anticipated to create new prospects for both Filipinos and Philippine businesses.

Marcos praised both Dr. Padilla and Assistant Secretary Gepty for their outstanding service to the country. He said that they are examples of the kind of public servants that the Philippines needs to build a stronger and more prosperous future.

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