The overlooked experts

By Herman M. Lagon

HAVE YOU ever noticed that in many disaster movies, there is a scene where a scientist urgently tries to warn people about an approaching disaster, but no one listens? It’s a common theme in films like “Don’t Look Up,” “Volcano,” “Dante’s Peak,” “Outbreak,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “2012,” “San Andreas,” “Contagion,” “Twister,” “The Core,” and “Deep Impact.” In these movies, a scientist or a group of researchers desperately tries to share vital information to prevent a disaster, but they are often ignored at first. This familiar scene reflects a real-life situation where the expertise of scientists, researchers, and technologists is sometimes overlooked when facing challenges in politics, social service, and the economy.

In the natural disaster-prone Philippines, scientists and researchers have a pivotal role in enhancing our comprehension of natural occurrences such as typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Their work helps us prepare for and respond to these disasters. Similarly, experts in economics and social sciences study market trends and develop policies to strengthen the economy. Their knowledge is vital in addressing economic challenges affecting Filipinos’ lives.

The work of scientists, engineers, and technologists is about more than just understanding the world around us. It also leads to new technologies that can help us predict, prevent, and deal with disasters. For example, early warning systems for typhoons and earthquakes and sustainable energy solutions can directly impact the lives of the most vulnerable and contribute to the country’s development.

The portrayal of scientists being ignored in disaster movies reflects a more significant issue of public trust in science and the need for effective communication. We are all encouraged to understand and trust scientific information. It is also crucial for our leaders to make decisions based on evidence and research, and to involve scientific experts in crafting policies related to disaster management, public health, and economic development.

Recognizing the expertise and insights offered by the scientific community can improve our preparedness for potential crises and contribute to a more resilient and prosperous future for the country and the world. By valuing the role of and budget given to scientists, researchers, engineers, and technologists, we can better address our nation’s challenges and work towards a more secure and prosperous future for all.


Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.