Roberto Verzola, ‘Father of Philippine email,’ dies
MANILA, Philippines – Activist, author, and mathematician Roberto Verzola, known as the “Father of Philippine email,” died Wednesday night, May 6, in his house in Quezon City while recovering from sepsis and pneumonia (not COVID-related) brought about by a couple of surgeries. He was 67.
Verzola had been an activist since he was a student at the Philippine Science High School. He became one of the youngest detainees at the onset of Martial Law while an electrical engineering student at the University of the Philippines.
He was a quiet, lanky guy who was a step ahead in many things.
He will always be known as the “Father of Philippine email.” He set up email and internet connections for Philippine nongovernmental organizations in 1992.
Other than information technology, he was also in the forefront in various advocacies, such as intellectual property rights, genetic engineering, election automation, and renewable energy back when hardly anyone else were talking about them.
He helped found Philippine Greens, Tanggol Kalikasan, Center for Renewable Energy, Sustainable Technologies, and Systems for Rice Technologies.
In 2003, he led the one-month hunger strike in front of the Department Agriculture gate in Quezon City against the agency’s introduction of Bt corn.
Among the books he wrote were Crossing Over: The Energy Transition to Renewable Energy and Towards a Political Economy of Information.
He was a teacher at UP Diliman Institute of Mathematics. – Frank Cimatu/Rappler