BICUTAN, TAGUIG CITY - After series of screenings, three distinguished finalists are vying for the 2020 NAST Environmental Science Award (NESA) of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL). This year’s finalists are Dr. Anthony S.F Chiu of De La Salle University, Dr. Emilyn Q. Espiritu of Ateneo de Manila University, and Dr. Ian A. Navarrete of Southern Leyte State University – Hinunangan.

NESA was first launched in 2001 as part of the celebration of the World Earth Day and as the Academy’s answer to the rapid pace of environmental degradation and the possible eventual depletion of natural resources. The Earth Day has been annually celebrated every 22nd of April since 1970 as the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. It aims to provide a voice to the emerging environmental consciousness in order to provide more awareness on environmental concerns. Since then, the celebration globally boosted recycling efforts and eventually led to the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

NESA aims to recognize outstanding scientific and technological research works that have significant contributions to environmental protection and conservation in the country. Spearheaded by the efforts of the late NAST PHL president National Scientist Perla D. Santos Ocampo, this award was established through the help of Dr. Hugh Greenwood, a philanthropist and founder of the Children’s Research Fund in the United States. This award was formerly called NAST-Hugh Greenwood Environmental Science Award.

Some of the notable scientists who recently won NESA are Dr. Damasa Magcale-Macandog (2014), Dr. Severino Salmo (2015), Dr. Arsenio B. Ella (2015), Academician Rex Victor O. Cruz (2016), and Dr. Wilfredo Roehl Licuanan (2018).

This year’s finalists were selected over a number of entries from different academic institutions and organizations. The Board of Judges is chaired by NAST PHL President Academician Rhodora V. Azanza and joined by Academicians Libertado C. Cruz, Marco Nemesio E. Montaño, Remigio M. Olveda, Agnes C. Rola, and Guillermo Q. Tabios III as members.

The winner of the award will receive a plaque, Php 150,000 cash incentive from NAST, and Php 2 Million research grant for an approved proposal from the Department of Science and Technology. On the other hand, the special citation will receive a plaque and Php 10,000 cash incentive.

The official announcement of the winner will be on April 22, 2020 during the World Earth Day. This endeavor is in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). (Dhan Michael L. dela Peña/NAST PHL)