Women Experts Lead the Way in Climate Science

March 26, 2024 Tuesday

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) highlights the remarkable women members of its National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), which serves as the CCC's scientific backbone, providing crucial policy recommendations and technical guidance that have shaped the Commission's strategies over the years.

Drawing from their collective knowledge and expertise in diverse fields, including geography, hazards studies, engineering and economics, the women of the NPTE advanced the understanding of climate change and significantly contributed to formulating policies for climate resilience and sustainable development.

Comprising 10 out of 16 members, these women have played a vital role in steering the CCC towards creating evidence- and science-based policies, making them leaders of the Commission's climate initiatives.

Meet the Women Members of the NPTE:

Dr. Doracie B. Zoleta-Nantes, NPTE Chairperson, specialist in geography and hazards studies; and President of Southern Luzon State University in Lucban, Quezon Province.

Dr. Emma E.Porio, NPTE Co-Chairperson, expert in climate and disaster vulnerability and gender assessment; Professor Emeritus at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, School of Social Sciences of the Ateneo de Manila University; and leader of "Coastal Cities at Risk: Investing in Climate and Disaster Resilience in the Philippines (CCARPH)" project.

Dr. Susan P. Mercado, NPTE Co-Chairperson, international public health and food security expert; former Undersecretary of the Department of Health; and currently the Director of the Food Systems and Resiliency Program at the Hawaii Public Health Institute, as well as Special Envoy of the President for Global Health Initiatives.

Dr. Jihan H. Adil, environmental planning and engineering expert, specializing in wastewater and climate change; currently the National President of the Society of Environmental Engineers; and Head of the Department of Environmental Engineering, Western Mindanao State University.

Dr. Zenaida L. Andrade, Chemical Engineer and Associate Professor, Program Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at Eastern Visayas State University in Tacloban City.

Dr. Gay D. Defiesta, specialist in natural resource and agricultural economics; and  Professor at the University of the Philippines Visayas.

Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, licensed agricultural engineer specializing in disaster risk management and water resource assessment; currently serving as Associate Professor and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Water (ISCW) at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

Engr. Merriam M. Santillan, geodetic engineer and Dean of the College of Engineering and Geosciences at Caraga State University in Butuan City.

Dr. Encarnacion Emilia S. Yap, post-harvest fisheries technology specialist; and Dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of the Philippines Visayas.

Dr. Maria Angela G. Zafra, expert in inclusive business models, sustainable finance, and gender inclusivity, serving as an adjunct faculty at the School of Business and Governance, Ateneo de Davao University; and executive director of the Strategia Development Research Institute.

This diverse representation sends a strong message concerning gender equality in the field of science. With women forming a significant majority in the NPTE, it confronts the notion of science being predominantly male-driven, affirming that women play crucial roles as catalysts for innovation and progress.

The CCC celebrates the achievements of these women experts while recognizing the need for continued efforts to promote gender equality in the field of science.

As CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director Robert E.A. Borje stated, "We must work to dismantle barriers and create an environment where girls and women can thrive in science. Their participation and leadership is vital for building a more climate-resilient and sustainable future."

The CCC recognizes the potential of women in science and urges the provision of the necessary support and encouragement for the next generation of female scientists. May the story of the NPTE stand as an inspiration for young girls to pursue their passion for science.

Let us pave the way for a future where science serves as a powerful tool for positive change, driven by the brilliance and leadership of women.

For more information about the CCC’s climate mainstreaming activities, visit the website of the CCC at https://climate.gov.ph and https://facebook.com/cccphl.