In December 1986, at the initiative of the San Miguel Corporation’s OR Department, a testimonial dinner called “A Toast to OR Professionals” was held at SMC’s Andres Soriano Executive Center. The event generated an enthusiastic exchange of ideas and culminated in the formation of a working committee tasked to define the organization that was to be the Operations Research Society of the Philippines. In February 1987, the committee presented the Constitution and By- Laws for approval by the initial batch of some 50 members, and the ORSP formally came into being. Since then, ORSP has been at the forefront of promoting the advancement and practice of OR in the Philippines.
The first ORSP symposium was held in June 1987 and featured OR applications in various sectors. This was to become a regular event of the society in its drive to focus on the vast potential of OR/MS in the Philippines. Both local and foreign experts have presented papers before the ORSP membership.
In December 1990, the ORSP went international and hosted its first International Conference on OR/MS (ICORMS). At about the same time, the first issue of the Philippine Journal of Operations Research was published. In 1997, ORSP hosted the second ICORMS, conducted jointly with the IFORS’ annual International Conference on OR in Development (ICORD). Another international event, the IFORS Workshop for Teachers in Developing Countries, was successfully organized by ORSP in July 2004.
Each year, the ORSP General Membership Meeting serves as a forum to discuss pertinent issues and new directions. Top government officials, including then-Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos and then-Senator Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, have graced the Society’s biennial induction of officers. ORSP highlighted OR in the public sector through its regular Kapihan forums sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology.
ORSP does not lose sight of the future OR professionals: the students. As early as 1989, ORSP formed the first Student Chapter. Currently, seventeen student chapters have been accredited and comprise the ORSP Federation of Student Chapters. The Federation actively sponsors get-togethers, and an annual Student Congress which features lectures, the Inter-University OR Quiz and a Paper Writing Contest.
In 1999, the ORSP Committee on OR for Public Service (ORSP Corps) was established to move closer to the long-term mission of helping in nation-building through the use of OR. Five projects have since been completed: Privatization of the Manila North Harbor, Assessment of the Bureau of Customs shift to the Transaction Value System, Assessment and Streamlining of the Data Capture at the Bureau of Customs, Selection and Deployment of Quick Count Facilities for the Namfrel, and Optimization of Power Dispatch in the Luzon Grid for the National Power Corporation.
The years 2005 to 2009 saw the organization embark on a professional development program for its members through a quarterly technical forum on issues such as Traffic, Agriculture, Environment, Energy, Business Logistics, and Sustainable Development. Activities on the student front were as dynamic, as evidenced by the continued membership growth of the Federation of ORSP Student Chapters.
In 2006, ORSP played host for the first time to the Association of Asia Pacific OR Societies (APORS) Seventh Conference. Since 1998, this regional Triennial Conference had been held in Korea, China, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and India. As Guest of Honor, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo acknowledged the contribution of OR to decision-making in the public sector all over the developing world, even as she challenged the ORSP leadership to participate in nation building in the Philippines.
On its 20th year, ORSP had one of its founders, Elise del Rosario, assume the Presidency of the International Federation of OR Societies (IFORS) as the first woman and second Asian to assume the leadership of this 48-year old body composed of 62 national and kindred society members. The Society has, over the years, catered to the needs of its membership through the regular Forums and national conferences which had been held consecutively in 2009 and 2010. Its all-out support of the student chapters contributes to the success of the annual student federation congress.
The 2010 ORSP event calendar concludes with the November national conference. Indeed after 23 years, it can be said that ORSP has not stopped thinking of ways to contribute to the professional growth and development of OR practitioners, academics, and students in the Philippines.