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Blue Economy Forum speakers (2nd to 4th person from left): Professor Emeritus Ben Malayang; SOXAARRDEC Consortium Director Josephine Migalbin; Atty. Engelbert Caronan; UPLB-School of Environmental Science and Management Dean Rico C. Ancog; with DOST Officials: Undersecretary for Regional Operation Sancho A. Mabborang; DOST-XII Director Sammy P. Malawan; with Environmental Planner Jobe Tubigon (Image Credit: DOST 12)

DOST-PCAARRD co-organizes forum to drive growth in the Blue Economy

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) collaborated with DOST Region XII, DOST Office of the Undersecretary for Regional Operations (OUSecRO), and SOCCSKSARGEN Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SOXAARRDEC) in conducting the Blue Economy Forum in General Santos City last March 28, 2023.

As an archipelagic country, the Philippines enjoys several advantages from its territorial waters, including the fisheries and aquaculture sector, tourism, shipping and transport, maritime education and jobs, manufacturing, energy production, waste management, and climate regulation. The Blue Economy Forum advocated sustainable use and management of marine and coastal resources by integrating the blue economy concept in regional and national development plans and policies.

DOST Region XII Director Sammy P. Malawan welcomed the 250 guests and participants from National Government Agencies, State Universities and Colleges, Higher Education Institutions, Local Government Units, Water Districts, Private Sector, Local Media Outlets, and DOST Regional Offices. DOST-PCAARRD Executive Director Reynaldo V. Ebora gave a message of support.

Dr. Reynalo Ebora giving his message of support (Image Credit: SOXAARRDEC)

“It is crucial for our country to manage all these ecosystems sustainably as well as to recognize the ‘blue economy’ as a key driver of economic growth and to incorporate its principles in our policies and development plans,” Dr. Ebora stated.

Experts from various institutions graced the event to provide a wider perspective on the blue economy concept: Dr. Ben Malayang, former Silliman University President, discussed the ecological foundations and imperatives of the Philippine Blue Economy; while Atty. Engelbert Caronan presented ways to mainstream the Blue Economy governance framework.

Dr. Rico Ancog, UPLB-School of Environmental Science and Management Dean Rico C. Ancog explained the results of the PCAARRD-funded project, “Development of Blue Economy-based Science and Technology Innovation Systems for the Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resource Sectors.''

Through a video presentation, Academician Rhodora Azanza, former President of DOST National Academy of Science and Technology, discussed a blue economy framework for the Philippines focusing on regional and international links. SOXAARRDEC Director Josephine Migalbin concluded the presentations by sharing USM’s ongoing Blue Economy-related initiatives in Region XII.

The speakers and Dr. Ebora on stage answering questions from the participants (Image Credit: DOST Region XII)

To highlight key points from the presentations, Environmental Planner Mr. Jobe Tubigon served as the discussant. The participants also asked the speakers and Dr. Ebora.

Engineer Sancho A. Mabborrang, DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, concluded the program by challenging the participants to take the next steps to develop the blue economy.

The forum emphasized the importance of widening the development plans and policy perspectives on blue economy, developing knowledge and tools for researchers and stakeholders to address the sector’s challenges, and strengthening partnerships and collaborations to ensure that efforts towards sustainable use of resources and maximizing the potential of the Philippines’ blue economy are mainstreamed.