A woman of Science: Marieta Baňez-Sumagaysay

DoST’s Marieta Baňez-Sumagaysay with one of the recipients of the many trainings conducted by the agency. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MARIETA Baňez-Sumagaysay or MBS to the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) staff all these years had proven time and again that gender is and should not be an issue in the science profession.

“There can be no sex discrimination in an environment where merits count and where skills outweigh any sex-related factors, and this gave me the resolve to contribute to making this kind of environment happen for more women in science,” MBS, former director of the DoST-National Research Council of the Philippines (DoST-NRCP) and currently Professor 12 of Economics at UP Visayas Tacloban College, said of her early work experience in the field of sciences.

When MBS became the executive director of the DoST-NRCP in November 2015, she knew that her task was to promote basic research, and she did that exactly.

“The challenge in 2016 was so great — how to produce impactful results given the very low research budget. NRCP was then funding projects of less than P1 million; even as low as P300,000 if only to fund more of its more than 3,000 NRCP members. What impact can we expect?” MBS honestly depicted the basic research situation when she joined the council.

Under MBS’ leadership, together with the secretariat and with the approval of the Governing Board, NRCP came up with issue-based National Integrated Basic Research Agenda 2017-2022, and this served as NRCP’s guide for prioritizing research proposals for funding, as ably implemented by the Research and Development Management Division. NRCP’s Grants-In-Aid amounted to P12 million in 2016, which jumped to P117 million in 2022. And from having 3,927 members in 2015, the NRCP’s membership now stands at 5,111.

MBS’ advice to young Filipinos is this: “Stay focused. Seek for and be keen on opportunities that are for the taking.”

She cautioned them that, “You cannot have your cake and eat it, too. There will be trade-offs and opportunity costs while building a career. Remember to make conscious decisions by choosing options that will maximize your gains given the constraints and the limitations.”

Lastly, MBS invites the young to remember that “Women and girls hold half of the sky and half of the seas. Claim it!”

Source: https://www.manilatimes.net/2023/03/24/public-square/a-woman-of-science-marieta-baez-sumagaysay/1884051