Department of Science and Technology-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) scientist Arsenio Ella received the prestigious Outstanding Filipino (Tofil) Award for 2013, along with two other civil servants. No less than President Benigno Aquino 3rd was the guest of honor during the awarding ceremony on January 29 at the Insular Life Auditorium in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Ella was awarded under the Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development category. He was cited for developing scientific and sustainable techniques in resin tapping that have not only prolonged the tree’s life, but also helped create livelihood for indigenous communities including the Bontocs, Isnegs, Mangyans, Dumagats, Aetas, Tagbanuas, Palau-ans, Bataks, Mandayas and Manobos, among others.
In his speech during the awarding, President Aquino praised Ella and the other awardees for finding ways to help solve society’s problems.
“Ang ganitong solusyon ay maaari lamang manggaling sa isang ekspertong malalim ang kaalaman—hindi lamang sa kanyang larangan, kundi pati na rin sa mga komunidad na maaaring makinabang sa kanyang mga matutuklasan [This type of solution can only come from an expert with deep knowledge—not just of his field but also of communities that can benefit from his discoveries],” said President Aquino of Ella, as quoted in Rappler.com.
A well-known wood anatomy expert, Ella has traveled to the hinterlands of Mindoro, Palawan, Samar, Sierra Madre, Davao and the Cordilleras, and farmlands in Bicol and Quezon to share his knowledge on tapping the resin of pili, almaciga, apitong, palosapis, Benguet pine and other tree species, to local communities.
Ella joined FPRDI in 1974 and was conferred the rank of Scientist III in the DOST Scientific Career System in 2001. He finished his BS in Forestry in 1973 and his MS in Forestry in 1983 at the University of the Philippines Los Banos.
Among the notable awards he has received are the National Research Council of the Philippines’ Research Achievement Award in 2003, UPLB Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumnus for Natural Resources Technology Development in 2012, UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources’ Most Outstanding Alumnus Award (Mancono Award) in 2012, and the University of the Philippines Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development in 2013.
“This recognition serves to inspire me and my colleagues to dream bigger dreams and scale greater heights as we do our share in helping bring back life and stability to the country’s fragile mountain ecosystem,” said Ella who is a native of Daet, Camarines Norte.
Organized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate Philippines and Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd., Tofil seeks to recognize Filipinos who have contributed immensely in uplifting the welfare of their countrymen, as well as in the advancement of their fields.
Besides Ella, other awardees were DOST Project NOAH’s Executive Director Dr. Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay and Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson.