I am now Executive Director of Manila Observatory, a Jesuit scientific institution that, among others, works on climate change, disaster risk reduction, poverty mapping, etc. I replace my friend Toni Yulo Loyzaga whom I helped recruit to join MO a decade Ago. She has done a wonderful job and her shoes will be difficult to fill.
I have been in the MO board for twelve years and is totally committed to its work. And so when the request to head the oldest observatory in Asia came from Fr. Jett Villarin, the Chair of the board, I could not refuse. I am actually excited and enthusiastic to do this, especially at this time when there is a good chance that the international community working together can defeat climate change with the Paris Agreement and reduce significantly, via the Sendai Framework, the most serious risks of disasters. I am also very happy to join a community of the best physical scientists in the country, including our wisest colleague Fr. Sergio Su who welcomed me warmly and many young scientists at the start of their careers. My job is to make sure they have the enabling environment and the resources to do excellent science. My responsibility is to help them identify priorities and to shepherd the results of their work for better impact, among others to influence policy and governance decisions.
On a personal note, I welcome this opportunity to do solid technical work. It’s a chance to detach a bit from our vicious politics. I will still be teaching law in a number of schools, doing governance work with the Ateneo School of Government, and will continue to do legal, policy and capacity building work for government and international organizations but leading MO now rises to the top in terms of my priorities.