These “Balik Scientist” awardees face the frontlines to share expertise against COVID

Image via Harvy Joy Liwanag | Facebook, Reynaldo Garcia | Philippine Genome Center website, Doralyn Garcia Center | Dalisay research website
  • The “Balik Scientist” Act aims to prevent the country from “brain drain” by inviting Filipino scientists to go home in exchange for some perks and incentives
  • Get to know some of them who returned and are rendering their expertise in our institutions
  • As the Philippines look for solutions to combat COVID, these experts are currently in the frontlines

Impressive salary packages and benefits abroad tempted our scientists to find their luck outside the country. In 1975, the “Balik Scientist” program was created and became a law only in 2018.

The program invites Filipino scientists to return home to work in the Philippines in exchange for incentives. From 2007, the program brought more than 200 scientists back and some have decided to stay in the country permanently.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, here are some professionals featured in an article by ABS-CBN. They are working in the frontlines to find solutions against the virus.

Image via Harvy Joy Liwanag | Facebook

Dr. Harvy Joy Liwanag

He completed his Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH). Currently, he works at the DOH Health Human Resource Development Bureau (HHRDB). Also, he works as a coordinator at the Training Center for Health Research Ethics and Good Clinical Practice at the UP National Institutes of Health.

Image via Philippine Genome Center website

Dr. Reynaldo Garcia

Upon his return in 2010, he became an educator at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, UP Diliman. He has also become the UP System Director of the Technology Transfer and Business Development Office. Garcia leads the multi-awarded Disease Molecular Biology and Epigenetics Laboratory and plays a significant role in the DOH national databasing of laboratories with polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Image via Dalisay research website

Dr. Doralyn Dalisay

Dalisay was awarded by the PRC as the 2019 Outstanding Professional of the Year in the field of Pharmacy. She currently helps the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC)’s facilities and technicians accreditation to the DOH. Its laboratory has been licensed by the DOH to perform COVID-19 tests. Dalisay owns two US patents on the use of a marine natural product for fungal infections and cancer.

The rest of the scientists featured were Dr. Joseph Adrian Buensalido, Dr. Jonel Saludes and Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvaña.

With the “Balik Scientist” Act, these experts enjoy the following perks and benefits: exemption from licensing or permitting requirements from the Professional Regulation Commission, accident and medical insurance coverage and round trip airfare originating from a foreign country to the Philippines. Their expenses on excess baggage allowance related to scientific projects are reimbursed.