5 Decades, 5 Champions: Dr. Angel C. Alcala
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we will be featuring 5 local Environmental Defenders who tirelessly fought and championed their respective environmental causes in the last 5 decades.
Angel C. Alcala was born and raised in Cauayan, Negros Occidental. He is a Filipino biologist who was proclaimed a National Scientist of the Philippines in 2014. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Advisers at the Silliman University Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management (SUAKCREM). Dr. Alcala spent decades of his life to work on the preservation and conservation of the Philippines’ rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity. In 1970s, he established the first Marine Protected Areas in the Philippines through his quest in finding answers on his theory called “The 25% Solution” which resulted to sustainable fish supplies for future generations.
Dr. Alcala was the first Filipino scientist to engage in comprehensive herpetology studies in the Philippines. Through his efforts, from the 400 already known species of reptiles and amphibians, 50 more species were identified. The works and scientific contribution of Dr. Alcala led to well established conservation programs in the Philippines.
In receiving his Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1992, Dr. Alcala said, “Allow me to express a warning and a challenge to all of us, Filipinos and Asians: that unless we move fast to put a stop to the rape of our natural resources, we will remain poor, destitute, pitiful, and even become worse off. If the environmental destruction continues without letup, it will be our children and our children’s children who will reap the tragic consequences.My friends, we now find ourselves at the crossroads between poverty and prosperity. Our future is only as good as what we make of the present”.