ZAMBOANGA CITY – The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Office IX, conducted the Speakers’ Bureau Program as part of the 2019 Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW) and Regional Invention Contest and Exhibits (RICE) on September 11, 2019 at Palacio del Sur, Zamboanga City.

The Speakers Bureau is an activity of the NAST PHL, which aims to help academic institutions or any interested organizations by providing speakers and resource persons on science-related issues. This one-day activity was conducted to discuss and formulate relevant solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and encourage students to pursue a career in science and technology.

The experts invited were: Acd. Juan M. Pulhin and Acd. Rex Victor O. Cruz, members of the NAST PHL Social Sciences and Agricultural Sciences Divisions, respectively; Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Asssistant Professor V and UP Scientist III from the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM)-University of the Philippines Los Baños, and Dr. Marla M. Redillas, Associate Professor from Civil Engineering Department, De La Salle University Manila. The event was attended by 100 students and teachers from different schools in the region. The program was facilitated by Ms. Merly D. Alivio from DOST Regional Office IX.

Ms. Rosemarie S. Salazar, the Assistant Regional Director for Finance, Administrative Support and Technical Services (FASTS) of DOST IX welcomed the speakers and participants of the activity. She emphasized the importance of youth participation in solving societal problems.

Dr. Rico C. Ancog talked about SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, specifically on Urbanization and how its understanding can aid in better planning. He first defined urbanization as a historical process describing the growth of place in modern society, implying a change in the socio-economic and demographic structure of a population, an urban way of life and new settlement. He further emphasized that the Philippines has experienced a rapid increase of unregulated process of urbanization caused by problematic planning, which then resulted to a wide-array of social, economic, and environmental problems across different scales. He then recommended developing a Comprehensive Land Use Plan to address challenges in overpopulation and urbanization, among others. He also encouraged having a more imaginative approach among researches to better understand urbanization, develop several methods to analyze it systematically (mapping, remote sensing, social tools), and formulate necessary solutions.

Dr. Marla M. Redillas, on the other hand, talked about SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation focusing on the sustainable management of water resources. She shared that protection of water resources maintain quality and quantity of water resources and ensure ecological sustainability; prevent further degradation of water resources; and rehabilitate degraded water resources. Thus, she recommended to shift from convention to ‘low-impact development’ (LID), improve altered water circulation, reduce hydrologic and environmental impacts, and do ecological/functional landscaping.

Acd. Rex Victor O. Cruz also tackled SDG 6, specifically the facts and myths of watersheds. He emphasized that watersheds provide various ecosystem goods and services and also help in addressing water physical scarcity as well as economic scarcity. He recommended building a research and monitoring network by formulating science and technology solutions and promote a science and technology-based policy and practice.

The last speaker, Acd. Juan M. Pulhin, discussed SDG 13: Climate Action,with focus on the science, impacts, and responses to climate change. He said that climate change has many impacts on human health, forests, coastal areas, agriculture, species and natural areas, water resources, and settlements. He then recommended to pursuing alternative development pathways, which will benefit both climate change and unsustainable development. He also shared that in responding to climate change: mitigation, adaptation, and enhancing carbon sink should be done as well as the promotion of more sustainable development efforts to achieve our goals for sustainability (economic, social, environmental).

An open consultation was opened to entertain questions from the audience. Ms. Darla Mae Hasan, SRS I of NAST PHL, delivered the synthesis of the event and expressed gratitude for the constant support and collaboration of DOST IX and encouraged the participants to apply what they learned during the program in their own respective fields.

The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines is the country’s premiere advisory and recognition body on matters related to science and technology.