With over a thousand attendees, the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) successfully held its 39th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) on July 12-13 at the Manila Hotel, with the theme, “Attaining Sustainable Development Goals: Philippine Fisheries and Other Aquatic Resources 20/20”.

Academician Fabian M. Dayrit, acting president of NAST PHL, opened the event by emphasizing the country’s need to improve utilization of water resources for national development. He also gave updates regarding NAST’s recent efforts to solve this pertinent science and technology concern, particularly the conduct of Regional Scientific Meetings (RSM) held in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. These RSMs highlighted the significance of fisheries and aquatic resources in the food, transport, and pharmaceutical industry, to name a few.
DOST Secretary Fortunato De la Peña graced the event as keynote speaker highlighting the relevant sustainable development goals (SDGs), linking DOST with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources to fill the gaps in policy-making and to meet the demands of the nation.

The series of plenary sessions was opened by Dr. Ronald Mendoza of the Ateneo De Manila University, as he talked about the Philippines’ Blue Economy, citing it as necessary in pushing forward our national interest.

Academician Rodel D. Lasco of NAST PHL presented the case of Laguna de Bay as an example for sustainable development, citing multi-sectoral usage and conservation factors for the largest inland water-resource of the country.

His presentation was followed by Dr. Evelyn Grace T. De Jesus-Ayson of SEAFDEC who discussed sustainable mariculture. She cited the success of the Panabo Mariculture Park as a benchmark that can be followed by other viable water resources with its harmonious cooperation between LGUs and the private sector.

The first day ended with Dr. Kent Carpenter recounting the grueling victory of the country in last year’s territorial dispute for the West Philippine Sea at the International Court of Justice, the Hague in November 2015. He cited the role of scientists in ecosystems protection and naval security.

The second day opens with Academician Gisela P. Concepcion highlighting the potential of marine microbiome research in providing promise of new drug compounds.

Academician Nemesio E. Montaño discussed the importance of marine science and technology in the sardine and seaweed industries. According to him, seaweeds should be further studied for bioenergy, pharmaceuticals, food, agriculture and horticulture, paper and other products.

National Scientist Angel C. Alcala of NAST PHL reported on the success of the Apo Island and Sumilon Island No-Take Marine Reserves, proving that sustainability through conservation is the best way to provide livelihood for all.

The series of plenary talks was concluded by Mr. Philip Ong of Santeh Feeds, Inc. As a proponent of the private sector, he shared the success stories and opportunities, as well as the research mishaps, in the aquaculture industry --- from the wrong administration of vaccine in tilapia fingerlings to the viability of vanamei shrimps and mangrove crabs for aquaculture.

Academician Rodel D. Lasco presented the resolutions to DOST Secretary Fortunato De la Peña and Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR National Director Commodore Eduardo Gongona. Secretary De la Peña responded by committing the DOST towards the Blue Economy and all of its relevant resolutions, while Undersecretary Gongona responded by encouraging better marketing and commercialization of the numerous researches done by our scientists.The 39th ASM was hosted by the NAST Agricultural Sciences Division, chaired by Academician Eufemio T. Rasco, Jr.  

The Annual Scientific Meeting serves as the leading convention between the experts, the industry and policymaking agencies, to translate research into future social programs and commercial products. Recommendations gathered from this activity are then forwarded to the concerned sectors of the Philippine government.