Science webinar series honors Jose Rizal as Filipino scientist

Jose Rizal as Filipino scientist
The Philippines is marking the 125th anniversary of national hero Jose Rizal’s martyrdom during the Spanish colonial period.

A science webinar series honoring Jose Rizal as a Filipino scientist has been launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to mark the 125th year of the national hero’s martyrdom.

The first webinar, “Jose Rizal, the Agriculturist: Honoring and Remembering him @ 125”, showcased Rizal’s contributions to the development of agriculture in 19th century Philippines when the country was still a colony of Spain.

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The Rizal commemorative event gathered experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, UP Los Baños, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to share their knowledge and expertise on the life of Rizal as an agriculturist, extensionist, and defender of farmers’ rights.

DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) led the kick-off of the webinar series last December 13, 2021.

Dr. Kerby C. Alvarez, Assistant Professor at UP Diliman’s Department of History, talked about Rizal’s perspectives on science and the era of institutionalization of modern agricultural sciences in the late 19th century. According to Alvarez, Rizal’s innovative ideas played an important role in the development of science as a discipline during his time, which he applied in agriculture.

On the other hand, UP Los Baños’ Department of Social Sciences Assistant Professor Rhina A. Bonconan discussed the history of Hacienda de Calamba and the agriculture sector’s situation during Rizal’s time. Bonconan said that one of Rizal’s greatest contributions to agriculture was to shed more light on the plight of farmers including landlessness under the Spanish colonial rule.

Lastly, NHCP Historic Sites Development Officer Eufemio O. Agbayani III dwelled on Rizal’s experience as a farmer during his exile in Dapitan. For Agbayani, Rizal’s interest in farming could influence our modern-day farmers and agriculturists to think like an entrepreneur and explore more opportunities in farming.

Aside from the three experts, a descendant of Rizal from his older brother Paciano was also present during the event. Ester Azurin shared how important farming is for her family as influenced by their ancestor Rizal. Azurin, an agri-entrepreneur herself, said farming and agriculture are noble pursuits because, if not for them, there would be no food on our tables.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said the DOST hopes to instill and revive nationalism among Filipinos through the Rizal webinar series.

“Nais nating buhayin sa puso ng bawat isa ang kahalagahan ng pagiging Pilipino at sa webinar na ito, nais naming itaas ang inyong kamalayan at kaalaman tungkol sa papel ni Jose Rizal at ng kanyang pamilya sa paghubog sa agrikultura ng bansa,” dela Peña said.

The secretary added that Rizal’s nationalism, love for the arts and sciences, and desire to uplift the lives of the poor continue to serve as an inspiration to the Filipino nation, particularly the youth. He compared the selfless service of the heroes of this COVID-19 pandemic – the health workers, medical professionals, and scientists – to Rizal.

The “Jose Rizal, the Agriculturist: Honoring and Remembering him @ 125” webinar is part of the activities preceding the unveiling of “Dr. Jose P. Rizal, The Filipino Scientist” statue on December 30.

The 12.5-ft monument will be the first 3D-scanned and 3D-printed statue of the hero built in the Philippines – a product of Prof. Jose Manuel Sicat, using world-class technology provided by the state-of-the-art facility, the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen) of the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC).

Rizal’s 3D statue is a tribute by the DOST to the life and legacy of Rizal and his contributions to the country especially in the field of science. The project to commemorate Rizal on his 125th year martyrdom anniversary is a joint undertaking of the DOST-MIRDC, the DOST-National Research Council of the Philippines and the DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute.

WATCH the webinar here:

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.