Thursday, February 24, 2005



Metro Post
20-26 February 2005
Page 01

The Maritime & Ocean Affairs Center of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Silliman University have entered into a memorandum of agreement that would promote the study of the marine environment and ocean resources, and development of marine scientific research.

The MOA is also expected to facilitate the formulation of an ocean governance mechanism especially for the strategic Dumaguete-Siaton-Bayawan coastal stretch, which overlooks the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea, the South china Sea, and the Western Pacific Ocean.

In simple signing ceremonies at the SU Board Room, MOAC secretary general Alberto A. Encomienda and SU President Dr. Agustin Pulido agreed to also engage in programs and projects that would establish facilities for research and training in the marine sciences including laboratories, oceanographic institutions, and maritime museums.

“The MOAC is riding on the reputation of Silliman University in the marine sciences because of its high academic standards,” Encomienda said. He explained there is still a lot to learn about the inter-connectedness of the oceans and our stake in it.

The MOA also involves jointly organizing seminars, conferences, ocean expeditions, and opportunities for exchanging and sharing knowledge and technology. In April, a cruise will leave for Vietnam to conduct a hydrographic survey and gather data on other characteristics of oceans. Earlier, two expeditions were conducted in northern Palawan and off the coast of Mindoro.

Although the study will be confined to the Philippine territorial waters, Encomienda said it might include later on a survey of the South China Sea. “This could be melded into one larger study if we have theparticipation of other international organizations or the cooperation of other countries.” He said such projects now seem possible because of the thawing of tension as a result of the political implications of territorial disputes.

Other activities between Silliman and the MOAC include programs and projects that advance the sustainable exploitation of marine resources for economic growth, those that promote the interests of the Philippines as an archipelagic state, and those that establish intr-library cooperation and information exchange including the setting up of an electronic library and the sharing of knowledge and expertise in information management.

Encomienda noted there are about 168 island-states all over the world, 17 of which are archipelagic in nature, or composed of a group of islands, like the Philippines.

“The Philippine archipelago is unique because of the wealth of our biodiversity, and the significance of its geological configurations on the Asia Pacific region,” Encomienda said.

The MOAC is mandated to promote the development of national capabilities and institutions including human resources for maritime and ocean affairs, and to raise the national consciousness and awareness of the country as an archipelagic state.

Also present during the signing were Dr. Amado Romillo, Bernadette San Juan, Jeffrey Joseph Araula, Emily Reyes, and Alvin dela Fuente; SU College of Arts and Sciences Dean Prof. Carlos Magtolis, Jr., Biology Prof. Roy Olsen de Leon, School of Communication Prof. Irma Faith Pal, SU Marine Laboratory deputy director Dr. Janet Estacion, and Information & Publications director Mark Raygan Garcia.

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