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PIA Press Release
2009/02/12

Book on South China Sea scientific studies re-launched

by Rachelle M. Nessia

Dumaguete City (12 February) -- A book discussing the results of scientific studies on the South China Sea will be re-launched by the Silliman University Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management (SUAKCREM) today (Thursday), February 12, at 5:00 p.m. at the Silliman University Multimedia Center Audiovisual Theater 1.

The book entitled "Proceedings of the Conference on the Results of the Philippines-Vietnam Joint Oceanographic and Marine Scientific Research Expedition in the South China Sea," is a collection of 23 scientific papers that deal with various areas of investigation into the oceanographic, biological and geological characteristics of the South China, as well as the area's marine ecosystems and biodiversity, according to Dr. Angel C. Alcala, editor of the book and director of SUAKCREM.

Alcala said these papers deal with the findings of the four JOMSRE expeditions conducted from 1996 to 2007.

Dr. Alcala said JOMSRE is scientifically significant, especially because it is the first ever scientific study made on the Spratlys by joint Filipino and Vietnamese teams of scientists and would provide the necessary database for future collaborative research studies on the area.

As head of the research program referred to as JOMSRE, the project's acronym, Alcala and his counterpart Vietnamese chief scientist, Dr. Bui Hong Long, led a group of 60 Filipino and Vietnamese scientists who embarked on two of the four expeditions to the Spratlys in 2005 and 2007.

Two earlier JOMSRE expeditions to the same group of islands were conducted by the Vietnamese and Philippine scientists from the University of the Philippines (Diliman) in 1996 and 2000.

Specifically, the papers discuss the following topics: physical oceanography, chemical oceanography and environment, marine biology and biodiversity, corals, marine geology, marine ecotoxicology, and plankton in the Spratly Group of Islands.

Alcala also said the close cooperation between Filipino and Vietnamese scientists developed through JOMSRE could serve as a good example for a peaceful resolution of conflicts in the area.

"JOMSRE was a confidence-building activity for Vietnam and the Philippines, both of which have claimed parts of the Spratly Group of Islands," said Alcala, who is also former Philippine Environment Secretary, during the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos in 1992-1995.

He added that the project was a good opportunity for scientists from both countries to work together in the fields of marine biology and oceanography.

"This cooperation could serve as an initial effort towards more lasting diplomatic and cooperative arrangements in the future, one of which is the establishment of marine protected areas," he said.

SUAKCREM is re-launching the said book together with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the Philippines. (PIA/rmn) [top]

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