The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 2, conducted the Speakers Bureau with the theme Role of Science in the Sustainable Development of the Environment on March 5, 2015 at the Batanes State College, Basco, Batanes.
Ms. Nora T. Garcia, director of the Provincial Science and Technology Center in DOST Region 2 Batanes welcomed the speakers and participants of the activity. She thanked NAST PHL for bringing the experts to their province to talk about the unique biodiversity of Batanes, including its marine biodiversity and climate change.
Experts invited were: Dr. Mudjekeewis D. Santos, Scientist II from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Agriculture; Engr. Glenn S. Banaguas, professor from De La Salle Araneta University; and Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, director of the University of the Philippines Los Baños Museum of Natural History.
Dr. Santos talked about conserving the marine biodiversity of Batanes and the importance of using DNA barcoding in identifying organisms at the species level. He discussed the different uses of DNA barcoding and gave examples on its applications in Northern Philippines, including Batanes.
On the other hand, Dr. Gonzalez reiterated the biogeographic importance of Batanes islands to the conservation of Philippine biodiversity. According to him, there have been explorations in the past that tried to document the species endemic only to Batanes. However, there are still many unidentified and unrecorded species that need to be documented. His group plans to visit the Batanes again to further study the biodiversity of the ten islands.
Finally, Engr. Banaguas discussed the importance of studying the impacts and risks of long-term climate variability on the agricultural sector. His discussion revolved around the track of tropical cyclones in the last five (5) decades, the risks involved, impact to society as well as policies involved in adapting and mitigating climate change. He discussed the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), whose guiding principles are: (1) ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with strong institutional basis for implementation; (2) identify, assess, and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning; (3) use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels; (4) reduce the underlying risk factors; and (5) strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.
During the open forum, one of the participants highlighted the importance of having scientific data to be able to declare Batanes as a UNESCO Heritage Site that should be protected and conserved.
The activity was attended by 84 participants from the academe, local government units, and business sector.