Without continued vigilance on the part of the government, private sector, civil society, and citizens, this significant community transmission in the country may lead to the pandemic getting out of control. If both national and local governments continue to fail to provide a prompt and adequate response, all our societal and financial sacrifices will be wasted, and we will likely experience another wave. This may lead to yet another round of more stringent restrictions, which could be harder for the government to implement and will likely undermine our economic recovery.

While news of giant clam poaching in the disputed Scarborough Shoal drew massive online outrage, it is far from the first wildlife exploitation story in our history. One serious challenge for local law enforcement in these cases has always been visually confirming the presence of our endemic species when specimens have been skinned, ground or similarly processed for the black market.

Luckily a team led by the UP Institute of Biology’s Ian Kendrich Fontanilla and the late Dean Perry Ong have locally pioneered a system called DNA barcoding, which utilizes the molecular fingerprint of genes to assist both scholarship and law enforcement in these tricky cases.

With the theme “Journalism in Crisis. Crisis in Journalism,” this year’s annual Asian Journalism Research Conference 2019 (AJRC) highlighted the need to remain vigilant against so-called fake news, especially amidst disasters and conflict.

The Department of Journalism of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication invites journalism and communication students to submit entries to the 2019 Asian Journalism Research Conference (AJRC 2019), scheduled on April 12, 2019 (Friday) at the University of the Philippines, Diliman campus.