MANILA -- The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRPC) is eyeing to empower more researchers in the countryside by providing them with funding support and training, an executive told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday afternoon.

Gerry Perilla, overall chair of the NRCP's 85th-anniversary celebration held Monday in Manila, said there is a pending bill in Congress, which seeks to expand the NRCP's mandate.

"We are proposing the expansion of the NRCP mandate -- to make the NRCP as a 'training center' for researchers in the country," Perilla said.

"We could provide them (researchers) with funds, and also train them to improve their capacity," he added.

The executive said the budget to do this would come once the NRCP's mandate include training the researchers in the countryside.

"At present, we are assisting our members, helping them also to fund their projects. But we have opened our doors to non-members, both from the public and the private sector, as long as they have requested for help," he said.

Meanwhile, as a science advisory council of the government since its establishment in 1933, the NRCP has done a lot, according to Perilla.

"The NRCP, in its 85 years, has done a lot in terms of policy and research," he said.

For one, Perilla said members of the NRCP were part of the crafting of the 1935 Constitution.

"They were responsible for the science and labor provision," Perilla noted.

The NRCP members were also responsible for the creation of the Commission on Volcanology, now known as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the executive said.

Perilla also pointed out that among the biggest accomplishments of the NRCP is the creation of the National Science and Technology Authority, which became the Department of Science and Technology in 1987.

The NRCP started with 114 researchers or members in 1933. At present, the Council has 4,200 members nationwide. (PNA)