Dr. Raymundo S. Punongbayan (1937—2005)


Dr. Raymundo S. Punongbayan

The following is a very brief sketch of Dr. Raymundo S. Punongbayan’s personal and professional background. Numerous stories were written about the man and his contributions to science and his country, chiefly in bringing swirling jargon of geologic events and phenomena to plain language. In the process, he helped cut losses in life and property and brought science to daily reality with far less pomp than he richly deserved.  But none of the stories, it would seem, fully illustrates the small and broad elements that characterized the man, the public servant, his science.  Such duty belongs to another special mission—Editor 

 

 

Dr. Raymundo S. Punongbayan was born in Manila on June 13, 1937.

His specialization includes structural geology and tectonics, environmental geology, photogeology and remote sensing, volcanology, and geologic hazards mapping and risk assessment.

He was a BS Geology graduate of UP Diliman in 1960, and earned his PhD at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado in 1972.

He was a director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology from 1982 until his retirement, with brief stints as undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology, and as member or official of national and international organizations in between.

His other more recent involvements include Philippine National Red Cross governor, and vice president of the governing board of the National Research Council of the Philippines.  He was a speaker and participant to numerous local and international scientific conferences and produced a number of scientific papers.

In over 30 years of his career as a scientist, Dr. Punongbayan was a leading advocate of new technologies especially in natural resources management, environmental protection, geology, and geologic hazards management.  He was a pioneer in remote sensing technology application in the country.

Under his leadership, the inventory of mangroves and mineral resources, and structural analysis of the Philippines, and study of special features and problems of Montalban area were completed.

He was an acknowledged authority on volcanic, seismic, and lahar hazards evaluation and was praised for his role in explaining in plain language the Mt. Pinatubo eruption’s implications in 1991.

The more prestigious awards he received are the Sergy Soloviev Medal of European Geological Society in 2003, UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction in 2001, and Lingkod Bayan Presidential Award in 1996.

 

 

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