GONZAGA, CAGAYAN - In celebration of the Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW), the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office II successfully organized the Speakers Bureau on August 15, 2018 at the Riverview Hotel and Resort, Gonzaga, Cagayan.
This activity is a program under the Advisory Function of NAST PHL which aims to bring experts in various fields to the regions to lend their expertise to academic institutions or any interested organizations who are in need of speakers and resource persons on any science-related issues. This project was conceived primarily to serve provincial centers, which have less access to S&T information, through scientific and technological lectures as requested by different regions.
The activity was attended by over eighty (80) researchers and development practitioners, representatives from state universities and colleges, and government offices from all over Cagayan. Experts invited were: Dr. Alonzo A. Gabriel, OYS 2013, professor from UP Diliman, Dr. Angel B. Encarnacion, OYS 2018, officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, assistant professor V and scientist III from UP Los Baños, and Dr. Laura T. David, OYS 2007, professor VII from UP Diliman.
Mayor of Gonzaga, Cagayan, Honorable Marilyn S. Pentecostes graced the event with her presence and delivered the welcome remarks. She commended NAST PHL for bringing experts to their province to discuss (1) food safety, (2) aquatic and coastal resources, and (3) climate change. She underscored the significance of the activity since they are well-aligned with the activities and services they provide. Dr. Teresita A. Tabaog, assistant regional director of DOST Regional Office II then delivered the opening message by extending her outmost gratitude to the speakers for lending their expertise and providing context for those seeking solutions to the underlying causes.
Dr. Alonzo A. Gabriel, OYS 2013 focused his presentation on addressing food security and protection concerns in the Philippines. In his discussions, he differentiated food adequacy and quality, food safety, and food defense. He explained that food adequacy and quality is the assurance that there will be enough calories for the population’s health and well-being, whereas food safety is the assurance that consumers are protected from naturally-occurring hazards. On the other hand, food defense is the assurance that consumers are protected from intentionally introduced hazards. Based on the survey on DOST SETUP recipients collected by DOST regional offices and was collated by DOST Region IV-A, 84 percent have no good manufacturing practices (GMP), 92 percent have no Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) training, 63 percent prefers Lingua Franca as medium of instruction, 75 percent are the companies with no Food Safety Compliance Officer, and 61 percent are not aware of the required FSCO.
He then introduced the development of unified manuals on Basic Food Hygiene (105 Provisions), Food Safety Hazards (83 Provisions), and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (107 Provisions). Each module includes powerpoint presentation, learner’s manual, teacher’s manual, and pre- and post-test booklets. According to him, the manuals were turned over to DOST in June 2018 and they are planning on distributing these for free.
Dr. Angel B. Encarnacion, OYS 2018, officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, presented natural products for food and agricultural application as well as fisheries stock assessment of Region II. He stated that fishing grounds in Region II harbor a diverse community and abundant population of marine fish. Environmental factors such as current and water physico-chemical properties could have influence the species composition of the fishing grounds. However, the declining catch has been observed in the last five years. He then recommended to continue conducting stock assessment study in the fishing grounds, conducting reproductive biology of species of commercial value and hatchery/production of high value species.
Dr. Rico C. Ancog, assistant professor V and UP scientist III of the UP Los Baños, talked about future direction of climate change adaptation (CCA/M) in the Philippines. According to him, there are number of initiatives on mainstreaming Cooperation on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (CCA/DRRM) in development planning. However, huge gap lies in the implementation of actual adaptation and mitigation options on the ground (e.g., climate-resilient infrastructure that showcase enhanced engineering designs and standards, renewable energy projects, and waste management technologies). As risk financing can be an effective tool to assist LGUs and communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change, the government needs to guarantee the availability of effective disaster risk financing and insurance for LGUs and communities through appropriate policy interventions. The availability and continuous funding for People Survival Fund (PSF) implementation is crucial to helping most vulnerable LGUs and communities develop and implement projects and other measures that will enhance capacities to adapt to, if not to totally reduce, the expected impacts of climate change such as through the provision of early warning systems and risk insurance mechanisms. He also emphasized the need to revisit existing guidelines on available global and national financing mechanisms to facilitate access.
The presentations were concluded by Dr. Laura T. David, OYS 2007, professor VIII of the UP Diliman with her discussions on coastal marine food security based on climate and ocean exposure models. She emphasized that biodiversity is key to securing our food resources, especially under the climate change lens. She identified various sources of food fish, including wise marketer, pelagic fisheries, and municipal fisheries. According to her, there are more approaches that we can take in order to make us more resilient to climate change and protect these different resources. For mariculture, she mentioned that site selection is a must. She recommended conducting studies on stocking intensity and density and in the future to find more climate tolerant species. For pelagic fisheries, care should be taken to protect spawning and nursery grounds. There should also be studies on seasonal fisheries and site selection of these intense fisheries.
In order to have sustainable municipal fisheries, she recommended protecting and rehabilitating coastal habitats. Hand in hand, there should be watershed management and wise mariculture.
Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang, director of DOST Regional Office II, capped the event by delivering the closing remarks, thanking the speakers involved and encouraging participants to engage with experts and apply the information they obtained.