By: Gabriel Yason
The Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers was first conceptualized in March 1961 proceeding the chemistry seminar of one Dr. Arthur Livermor held in the Far Eastern University of Manila with aid of future PACT President, Father William J Schmitt, who provided the environment for a group of various teachers to gather and contemplate the idea.
They formulated the formation of a Chemical Teacher’s Association to advance the Philippines in national development, social advancement and economic advancement through Chemistry Education. The idea would be later discussed in other universities or colleges such as the University of Santo Tomas, resulting in the creation of the organization. After the founding, a constitution was drafted based on that of the Californian Chemistry Teachers Association and a board of members as well as officers led by the then President, Dr. Mariano Pangan. Under his tenure, the first seminars, conventions and workshops that would go on to define the PACT would begin with the invitation of notable expert lecturers such as Dr. Arthur Campbell of Harey Mudd College of California, Dr. Frank Co Tui of the National Science Development Board and Dr. Juan Salcedo, a former Chairman of the National Science Development Board (NSDB).
Following this legacy, succeeding presidents would continue to grow the contributions of the PACT through these events. From tutorials that show how laboratories can be used to facilitate chemistry teaching, to talks that show how the energy and the environment can not only be used as a teaching aid but as additions to chemistry, the PACT has consistently hosted seminars that give teachers the tools to be at their best and expand the teaching of Chemistry. However, it should be noted that there was a gap when the PACT could not host conventions under the leadership of Dr. Roberto Torres due to the declaration of Martial Law. This was with the exception of December 2, 1972 and the workshop-seminar called the Workshop in General and Inorganic Chemistry.
Thankfully, the following presidency of Dr. Juanita A. Manalo of the Philippine Woman’s University was less restricted and the longest in PACT history. Allowing other seminars like the Teaching of Environmental Science to be held during, and which were able to echo the lessons gleaned from seminars attended by delegates of the PACT in foreign countries. These delegations often attended events in those sponsored by international organizations like the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry to bring back important lessons to the Philippines. On the other hand, let it not be said that the PACT neglected working with local organizations either, what with its past, and recent, cooperation with Philippine organizations. Such as, the Philippine Association of Chemistry Students, the Philippines Science and Mathematics Council and others of similar kind. Of course the organization itself has, from beginning, always considered what topics should be gleaned from abroad and what lecturers should be invited to these seminars by surveying and communicating with its teachers and professors.
To this day, the PACT still pursues the same goals it held at its founding through the meetings and webinars held in today’s online setting, including the 2021 Chemistry Week and the annual PACT General Assembly. As demonstrated, the PACT can be resolutely stated to be an institution that has pushed forward the Philippine’s understanding of Chemistry through the work of volunteers and its teachers from 1961 to the present.