A two-day Visayas regional scientific meeting was held this week as part of the efforts of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) to improve and develop science-based approaches to addressing marine and aquatic environment issues as a way to achieve national development goals.
The 39th Annual Scientific Meeting in Visayas, with the theme “Attaining Sustainable Development Goals: Philippine Fisheries 20/20”, was conducted by the NAST-Philippines on April 18 and 19, 2017, in Cebu City in coordination with the Department of Science and Technology 7 (DOST 7). The event was attended by about 500 participants representing the environmental science community, government agencies non-government organizations, entrepreneurs, students and other stakeholders in the private sector.
The event was graced by DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Pena and acting NAST President Fabian Dayrit.
Experts and academicians in different fields of environmental science, as well as business leaders in mariculture and aquaculture business, stood as resource persons and discussants.
Various subjects involving the country’s marine and aquatic environment and its impacts on the quality of the Filipino people’s social and economic life were taken up and discussed in the science meet.
Discussions centered on such topics as science legislative agenda towards a blue economy, climate change and fisheries, quality education for sustainable development, clean water and sanitation in fishing, impact of land reclamation on fisheries, seaweed culture, and fishery harvest and mariculture.
Dialogues on disaster resiliency for business continuity and emerging diseases in shrimp culture were also part of the activities.
Following the discussion were the lively interaction among the resource speakers, discussants and the audience, enabling the participants to gain fresh, relevant, and current information on the matter. With the discussion inputs, the NAST is able to draw pertinent information from the knowledge and experiences of the people directly or indirectly involved in the exploitation of water and marine resources in the archipelago.
The relevant information gained from the wider spectrum of the population would come in handy for the NAST in performing its function as the national government’s advisory body in matters of science and technology.
The scientific meeting is held annually across the country to aid the NAST in providing independent and science-based advice on problems facing the nation and the world, in promoting a strong science culture in Philippine society, and in providing independent advice on the utilization of science, technology, and innovation.
In the two-day event, the participants were afforded the glimpse of the vital importance of marine and aquatic environment to the country. The event was aimed at attaining the national goal of sustainable development by enabling the Filipino people to enjoy the bounty of aquatic and marine resources without causing unmitigated damage to our oceans and inland waters.
Specifically, the regional scientific meeting seeks to 1) “highlight the importance of the sea, rivers, and lakes in the national economy”; 2) “show the current efforts to utilize water-based resources, determine emerging problems, and explore opportunities for improvement” and; 3) “point to policy imperatives, such as formulating laws that will enhance efforts to utilize waters resources for national development”.
Among those who composed the panel of speakers and discussants were DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum; Dr. Ronald Mendoza, Dean, Ateneo de Manila School of Government; Rafael Guerrero III, NAST (Phil); Rhodora Azanza, NAST (Phil) Biological Sciences Division Chair; Maximo Ricohermoso, Seaweeds Association of the Philippines Chair; Dr. Paul John Geraldino, University of San Carlos (USC) biology professor; Farly Baricuatro, Indo-Pacific Sourcing Center (FMC Phil) Manager; Dr. Mudjekeewis Santos, scientist in the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute; Dr. Danilo Largo, USC Research Director; Dr. Serapion Tanduyan, Cebu Technological University (CTU-San Francisco Campus) Campus Director; Leza Aconda-Cuevas, environmental management specialist; Dr. Resurreccion Sabada, UP Visayas College of Arts and Sciences Dean; Gisela Concepcion, NAST (Phil); Caridad Labe, CCL CentrEX Founder; Dr. Ramon del Fierro, USC AVP for Academic Affairs; Dr. Vincent Hilomen, Executive Director, Coastal Biodiversity Management Bureau; Engr. Oscar Tabada, OIC PAG-ASAM, Visayas Field Office; Dr. Julian Torillo, Planning Director, Bohol Island State University; Dr. Ruben Ungui, CTU Campus Director – Daanbantayan; Baltazar Tribunalo Jr., Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office; Engr. Edgardo Esperancilla, DOST VIII Regional Director; Dr. Roland Pakingking Jr., Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center; Roselyn Usero, Negros Prawn Producers Cooperative; Christopher Go, Overseas Feed Coroporation manager; and Dr. Anthony Ilano, USC Marine Biology professor.
written by: Licinio Gingoyon