Guiang, Francisco Jayme Paolo A. 2021. “The Development of Colonial Science and the Council under American Tutelage, 1933-1941.” In A History of the National Research Council of the Philippines: Research in the Life of the Nation, edited by Francis A. Gealogo, pp. 7-32. Taguig: National Research Council of the Philippines.
This paper talks about the inception of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) in 1933 and the activities it undertook in its early years until 1941. In understanding the historical impact of the NRCP during the prewar years, it is essential to tackle an overview of the development of colonial science and knowledge production. This is done in the first half of the paper where Spanish colonial science is tackled. Emphasis is given to the roles of the religious and non-religious institutions that contributed to knowledge production in the 18th and the 19th centuries. At the onset of a new colonial era, the American perspective to science is underscored for its essential part in reshaping the Philippine colonial landscape. By foregrounding scientific institutions in the context of colonial politics, important developments in science begin to emerge. For example, the establishment of the Philippine Scientific Society and the Philippine Research Institute in the 1920s to the 1930s were established in the midst of political vicissitudes after Gov. Gen. Francis Burton Harrison’s Filipinization policy that underscored here is the increasing role of Filipino scientists in scientific knowledge production at the dawn of the Philippine Commonwealth. The second part of this paper is entirely devoted to the early years of the NRCP. It begins with tracing the important legislative feats that eventually crafted the research council. The nature of the NRCP is also tackled as it mandates to support scientific research by becoming the center of scientific work in the Philippines. Moreover, its inclusive trait is underscored because it was the first scientific institution to extend its scope to other fields of study like the social sciences. A lengthy discussion about the early leaders of the NRCP is featured at the latter end of this paper. It focuses on the scientific career of Manuel Luz Roxas, Angel S. Arguelles, and Bienvenido Ma. Gonzales. Their dedication to science was manifested in their respective terms as president of the NRCP. The development of scientific research and establishment of international linkages became part of their legacies in the research council.