In line with the Duterte Administration’s thrust of bringing science initiative to the regions, the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Mindanao Cluster, in cooperation with the Mindanao Business Council, conducted a two-day Regional Scientific Meeting (RSM) at the SMX Convention Center, Davao City, Davao del Sur, last March 13-14, 2017. This event was participated by the six (6) regions in Mindanao (Regions IX, X, XI, XII, CARAGA and ARMM).
With the overarching theme, “Attaining Sustainable Development Goals: Philippine Fisheries and Other Aquatic Resources 20/20”, Mindanao RSM is the first of the three regional scientific meetings of NAST and DOST Clusters, in preparation for the 39th Annual Scientific Meeting on July 12-13, 2017.
The two-day Regional Scientific Meeting is divided into four (4) plenary sessions, one (1) dialogue, and one (1) science legislative forum wherein experts shared their insights and experiences.
Topics discussed: (1) sustainable sardine production, (2) current status of the Philippine seaweed industry, (3) fisheries ecosystem, (4) fishing boats, (5) waste management in tuna and sardines canning and processing industry, and blue economy.
Dr. Cesar L. Villanoy, a professor at the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, presented the factors affecting the fluctuation of sardine abundance, such as upwelling, upwelling, circulation, sea temperature, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), monsoons, rainfall, river discharge, overfishing, industry demand, management policies, industry demands, food availability, predation, and regime shift.
Mr. Alfredo Pedrosa III, president of the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines, discussed extensively the current status and issues faced by the Philippine Seaweed Industry. According to him, Philippine Seaweed Industry stands as major component of aquaculture in the fisheries sector contributing to about 50% of annual national fishery production, of which 70% comes from seaweeds principally the kappaphycus and eucheuma species, the main source of carrageenan.
Stakeholders from the public, private, and industry sectors were gathered in a policy forum organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) on February 2, 2017 at Hotel Jen Manila.
Driven towards a low-carbon economy for the Philippines, the forum reassessed the COP21 commitment of the Philippine government, validated the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) target sunder the COP21 Paris Agreement, and determined the country’s pathway to growth under a low-carbon strategy.
National Scientist (NS) Mercedes B. Concepcion mentioned during her welcome remarks that the Philippines is among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change and that the changing climate undoubtedly impedes the Philippines’ economic development.
The Philippines’ commitment on the 21st Conference of theParties (COP21) of reducing its greenhouse gas emission by 70% by 2030 has sparked controversy considering its performance as one of the lowest carbon-dioxide emitting countries in the world.
Dr. Ely Anthony Rosales Ouano, Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) 1980 and former principal environment specialist at the Asian Development Bank, presented an analysis of the COP21 and the Philippines’ INDC Commitment. He delivered a brief background of various frameworks were discussed: the Rio Development of 1992 on Environment and Development, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement; and the NDC of both developed and developing countries.
“The Philippines’ INDC is very similar to developed countries,” said Dr. Ouano. This assumption, as he expounded, implies that the Philippines has to behave and will have to expect the responsibilities of a developed country; leading to an increase in cost of electricity generation by Php 1.20 per kilo Watts per hour and gasoline/diesel fuel by Php 2.00 per liter in order to pay for the carbon dioxide emissions.
The socio-economic implications of the COP21 were discussed by Dr. Sarah Lynne Daway, assistant professor at the School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman. In an effort to contextualization the discussions revolving the Philippines’ INDC commitment, she presented a study on carbon footprint, inclusive growth and the fuel mix debate in the Philippines, which is co-authored by Dr. Geoffrey Ducanes, Dr. Majah-Leah Rabago, and NS Raul Fabella.
It was reiterated that the Philippines has a very small carbon footprint even among countries of a similar level of development. “The Philippines is quite ‘blameless in stratosphere’ [in terms of carbon emission],” Dr. Daway stated. It was also revealed that manufacturing growth is the key to a more inclusive growth and that carbon emissions and lower energy prices are necessary for this growth.
National Scientist Edgardo Dizon Gomez received honorary degree (honoris causa) Doctor of Science from Siliman University for his pioneering works and invaluable contributions to marine biology. The conferment of the degree was held last February 10, 2017 at the Silliman University, Dumaguete City.
A distinguished marine biologist, NS Gomez is recognized for his outstanding pioneering contributions to invertebrate biology and ecology, giant clam culture and restoration, and coral reef assessment and conservation.
He has led pioneering research works on invertebrate zoology, coral reef science and assessment, and invertebrate aquaculture. He steered the world’s first national-scale assessment of damage to coral reefs, which brought widespread concern over the status coral reefs. This led to worldwide conservation initiatives, such as the Global Reefs and Risk Analysis, Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, and the International Coral Reef Action, among others.
NS Gomez obtained his Bachelor of Arts and BS Education summa cum laude in 1962 from De La Salle University. He earned his MS Biology in 1967 from St. Mary’s University Minnesota, and PhD Marine Biology from the University of California San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) in 1973. Currently, he is a professor emeritus at the University of the Philippines- Diliman.