NAST Environmental Science Award (NESA) is one of the awards given by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL). This is in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which aims to recognize outstanding scientific and technological research works that have significant contributions to environmental protection and conservation in the country.

For 20 years, NESA has been the Academy’s contribution to the celebration of the World Earth Day and its response to counter the rapid pace of environmental degradation and the possible eventual depletion of natural resources.

Now, let’s get to know more of this year’s three distinguished finalists and learn their outstanding significant contributions to environmental protection and conservation.


chiuDr. Chiu has made significant contributions to the country and to the international community through his environmental expertise. He pioneered the Philippine and Asia Pacific eco-industrial park development and developed the Asia Pacific EID Continuum Concept through UNEP-UNDP-DTI. As early as 2000s, he placed Philippines in the radar of social mapping of EID publications worldwide. He has presented his authored publications in global resource material flow assessment and stock (MFA), decoupling theory, energy, and urbanization, and energy transportation to the Head of State at UN Environmental Assembly.

He also introduced systems thinking of industrial system engineering into transdisciplinary research at various institutions and became the first Philippine awardee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Correspondent and the first Philippine academe recipient of the ASEAN Engineer (IE).

Dr. Chiu is currently a University Fellow, Professor, and Research Fellow at De La Salle University (DLSU), Manila. He is also a member of the International Resource Panel of the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Foundation for Production Research. He is the Founding President of the International Society for Business Innovation and Technology Management. He served as member of the Pollution Adjudication Board of DENR from 2004-2016 and as Regional Executive of the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Network from 2013 to 2015.

He received his degree in Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (magna cum laude and Valedictorian) at DLSU, Manila in 1986, Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering & Management at Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand in 1988, and Doctor in Business Administration at DLSU, Manila in 2004.

His research entry for the award is entitled “Resource efficiency of the Philippine economy: A material flow accounting perspective (1955-2016)”.


espirituDr. Espiritu has contributed with great impact to environmental science throughout her career. She is a known expert in water quality and water pollution and is a pioneer in the field of Ecotoxicology in the country. Her researches on different environment pollutants, particularly microplastics, have raise awareness and insights in its effect to the environment.
Her research in microplastics added to the urgency for the need to find a solution to manage plastic waste and to produce biodegradable plastic. She led concrete policy initiatives and helped in the development of ecolabelling schemes for the country.

As environmental science educator, she paved way to the approval of a new degree program, Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences in the Biology Department of Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) and the revision to a five-year BS Biology program. Recently, she contributed to the approval of the PhD program in Environmental Science in ADMU.

Dr. Espiritu is currently a Professor at the Environmental Science Department, School of Science & Engineering, ADMU and has been teaching since 1995. She served as a member of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, Projects Technical Review Committee from 2014 to 2016. She also served as a member of the Experts Advisory Panel of the National Ecolabelling Programme (Green Choice Philippines) from 2012 to 2016 and a member of the Technical Panel for BS Environmental Science of the Commission on Higher Education from 2007 to 2010. She is an Accredited EIA Reviewer of the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau.

She received her degree in Bachelor of Science in Marine Science at the University of the Philippines, Diliman in 1982, Master of Science in Environmental Sanitation (magna cum laude) in 1990 and Ph.D. Applied Biological Science (magna cum laude) in 1994 at the University of Gent, Belgium.

She won the Basic Research Category of the School of Science & Engineering Research Awards in 2019, University Awards for Research and Creative Work in 2018, and LS Outstanding Scholarly Work in Sustainability in 2016 given by ADMU. She also received the 2013 Metrobank Outstanding Teacher (Higher Education Category) given by Metrobank Foundation.

Her research entry for the award is entitled “Assessment of quantity and quality of microplastics in the sediments, waters, oysters, and selected fish species in key site along the Bombong Estuary and coastal waters of Ticalan in San Juan, Batangas”.


navaretteDr. Navarrete has made significant contributions particularly in his studies on the understanding of the carbon stock of mangrove forests, which is an important focus of conservation initiatives and climate change studies. Aside from this, he is exceptionally productive in his scientific career with his published influential journals in the field of environmental soil science and agriculture. He is an Editor-in-Chief and member of an editorial board in a journal in tropical research in the country and as referee for high impact international journals.

Dr. Navarrete is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Science, Southern Leyte State University – Hinunganan Campus. He served as a member of the European Geosciences Union (2013-2014), Japanese Soil Science society (2006-2010), and Grassland Society of the Philippines (2002-2013).

He received his degree in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (1999) and Master of Science in Soil Science (2003) at Visayas State University, Leyte. He obtained his Master of Agriculture in Agro-Environmental Science at the Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Japan in 2007, Doctor of Science in Bioproduction (Soil Science) in at Iwate University, Japan in 2010, and Post-doctorate in Soil Science at Georg-August University of Gottingen, Germany in 2014.

He received the Outstanding Young Scientist Award by NAST PHL in 2016, the Achievement Award (soil Science) by the Philippine Society of Soil Science and Technology in 2017, and was a National Finalist for PCIEERD Outstanding Research & Development Awards in 2018. He was internationally recognized in 2017 by winning the Best Poster Award by the

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his research paper. He also received the Humboldt Fellowship Award in 2012.

His research entry is entitled “The role of reactive iron in long-term carbon sequestration in mangrove sediments: Implications on “blue carbon” estimates in Philippine mangroves”.The winner of the award will be officially announced on April 22, 2020 during the World Earth Day. He/She will receive a plaque and Php150,000 cash incentive from NAST PHL, and Php 2 Million research grant from the Department of Science and Technology. On the other hand, the special citation will receive a plaque and Php 10,000 cash incentive. (Dhan Michael L. dela Peña/NAST PHL)