Members and friends of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines gathered online last April 7, 2021 to dissect the importance of science communication and to evaluate how PR professionals and science communicators can unite to contribute effectively to society amid the current global pandemic. This happened through our first general membership meeting (GMM) for 2021 titled, DOWN TO A SCIENCE: Science Communication in the Age of COVID-19
Guest of honor and keynote speaker Secretary Fortunato de la Peña of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) shared his valuable insights on topic. He stressed how communicating science to the people has been a challenge, and highlighted how the various projects and innovations of the DOST ought to be cascaded clearly to members of society so Filipinos may participate in these programs and benefit from them. The Secretary cited, among others, the department’s Starbooks project, which aims to provide students with access to learning and resource materials despite today’s quarantine restrictions, and the Filipino Patriot Scholars values formation program, which trains future innovators holistically and encourages them to develop a deep concern for their communities.
Secretary de la Peña ended his talk with challenges posed to the PRSP: 1) open networks of experts to work with the DOST for us to learn form each other; 2) support DOST projects in 2021; 3) help fight fake news in all forms; 4) teach DOST the art of communicating science and technology; and 5) help DOST prepare our people for the world of the fourth industrial revolution.
Also during the GMM, Secretary de la Peña inducted the Board of Trustees and Officers of the PRSP for 2021-2022. Sworn in were President–Norman Agatep, APR, President & Managing Director of Grupo Agatep; VP-Internal–Louie Sebastian, Director for Development Communications Concurrent Executive Director of PAGEONE Group; VP-Internal–Richard Arboleda, President & COO of EON The Stakeholder Relations Group; Secretary–Abi Ho-Torres, Assistant Vice President & Head for Advocacy and Marketing Department of Maynilad Water Services, Inc.; Treasurer–Joji Banzon, Director of Partnerships of Asian Institute of Management; Auditor–Franz Jonathan de la Fuente, Corporate Communications, Branding, and Special Projects Officer of the National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines; Trustee–Cathy Ileto, APR ,Senior Director for Corporate Marketing for Philippines, China & Malaysia and Social Impact Lead for Philippines Sutherland Global Services; Trustee Monching Cruz, CEO & Executive Creative Director of Media Wise; Trustee–Ferdinand Bondoy, CDM Regional Integration & Chief Executive Director of ComCo Southeast Asia; Adviser–Ritzi Villarico-Ronquillo, APR, Consultant, Business Communication & Strategic Public Relations; and Adviser–Andy Saracho, APR, Assistant Vice President-Head, Veterans Affairs Office of Philippine Veterans Bank.