17 November 2022
The third and final installment of the three-part “Track 1.5 Dialogue on Marine Scientific Research (MSR)” series was a hybrid event composed of experts from various fields of marine science, geology, and experts from the political and legal perspectives of creating an improved MSR Framework for the Philippines. This dialogue emphasized the importance of further understanding the country’s marine environment and a step towards sustainable development of marine resources. This third Dialogue was convened on Monday, 14 November 2022 at the Roma Salon, Manila Hotel and via Zoom.
Mr. Julio Amador III, Executive Director of the Fulbright Philippines’ Philippine-American Educational Foundation, providing the opening remarks; H.E. MaryKay Loss Carlson, United States (US) Ambassador to the Philippines, as keynote speaker; and Dr. Rhodora V. Azanza as plenary speaker.
Mr. Amador highlighted the need for a concrete MSR policy framework and safeguarding Filipino MSR scientists faced with geopolitical challenges such as the Chinese incursions happening since 1995. US Ambassador Carlson said that the US and the Philippines will continue their commitments in enhancing research and conserving the marine ecosystem for future generations. Plenary speaker Dr. Azanza discussed the importance of the Blue Economy, the goal of sustainability through innovations, and cross border regional cooperation is needed through an ASEAN Blue Economy framework.
The hybrid dialogue was divided into three panels discussing Main Challenges for the Philippines, International or Global Challenges, and Political and Legal Perspectives.
The first panel’s speakers were Dr. Hazel Arceo of the Department of Biology and Environmental Science of the University of the Philippines Cebu, Dr. Esteven Toledo of the Wildlife Resources Division of DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau, Dr. Rene Abesamis of the Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management of Siliman University, and Mr. Dennis Arsenio Bringas of the Physical Oceanography Division, Hydrography Branch of the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).
This panel touched on the vulnerabilities of marine biodiversity and fisheries in the West Philippine Sea including the challenges in research and management; issues concerning Marine Protected Areas; the importance of research stations such as those operated by NAMRIA; and the current trends in Wildlife Law Enforcement.
The second panel’s speakers were Dr. Andre Jon Uychiaoco Senior Fisheries Advisor of the Fish Right Program, Dr. Gil Jacinto Retired Professor of UP MSI, and Dr. Carla Dimalanta from the National Institute of Geological Studies. Dr. Rosalie Hall of UP Visayas facilitated the discussion of marine pollution, illegal fishing, and deep sea research.
This panel highlighted marine pollution as a harmful cause to the marine environment and ultimately to humans and how MSRs can help the campaign against it; how additional MSRs can reduce Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF); and how the deep sea research of MSRs can help the Philippines prepare for natural disasters and search for additional natural resources.
The third panel focused on the geopolitical factors, political, and legal perspectives of creating an improved MSR Framework. National Security Adviser, Dr. Clarita Carlos served as plenary speaker; Atty. Jacqueline Espenilla, Director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, opened the legal basis of the framework, and Atty. Cyrille “Beng” F. Abueg-Zaldivar, former Representative of the 2nd District of Palawan, provided the political movements on the said framework. Dr. Deo Florence Onda facilitated the discussion.
This panel discussed the impact and consequences of MSR and the creation of a MSR framework for the Philippines. Namely, how MSRs can foster regional cooperation among neighbors; how it can support national security issues such as sovereignty protection; and how existing legal policies need to be amended or updated.
Amb. Marilyn Alarilla provided the summary and synthesis of the dialogue. Former VADM Jose Luis Alano closed the program by thanking the speakers, organizers, partners, and providing a recap of lessons learned from the three dialogues. He concluded with a quote from Gloria Fluxà Thienemann with “the ocean and nature can live without us, but humanity cannot live without nature”.
Organizers of this event are the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI), the Foundation for the National Interest (FNI), the Marine Environment and Resources Foundation, Inc. (MERF), and the US Embassy in Manila.
For a more comprehensive summary of the event, please access the link [Link Here].
Pictures of the event available below.