The University of the Philippines, through the Padayon Public Service Office or UP Padayon, is working for the advancement of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.
The academic as well as public service initiatives of the various colleges across the UP system have aided key national government agencies in the bid to make Manila Bay sustainable. UP Padayon has forged a network of resources that will further mainstream the contributions of UP’s academic, research and public service efforts toward Manila Bay’s rehabilitation.
“This consolidation is necessary as it enables us to see the comprehensiveness of UP’s involvement in addressing Manila Bay’s systemic rehabilitation,” Padayon Director Jeanette L. Yasol-Naval said.
From community to scholarship engagement
Since April, the UP Diliman National Service Training Program (NSTP) has partnered with the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) in conducting an awareness campaign, “Sikhay Lingkod 2: A Summit on Volunteerism,” which featured grassroots initiatives and advocacies, especially in maritime and environmental protection, as well as the Manila Bay clean-up drive.
UP Padayon Director Yasol-Naval stressed that UP’s engagement in Manila Bay’s rehabilitation goes beyond clean-up, and has underlined the fact that “UP’s participation could be in the form of sharing of expertise, and scholarly and technical assistance, which may come from the different disciplines of science, social science, urban regional planning, mass communication, law, among others, in developing a holistic approach in rehabilitating Manila Bay.”
Coordination meetings have been initiated by UP Padayon with key UP experts who are actively involved with the Manila Bay rehabilitation. The team from UP Los Baños, for example, is comprised of former UPLB Chancellor Rex Victor O. Cruz, Ph.D., as the head, and Prof. Ricardo M. Sandalo and Prof. Leonardo M. Florece, Ph.D., who form the core of the leading local consultants of the 13-month Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan project conducted by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
“The challenge is how to come up with a master plan that is reasonably acceptable to everyone. And the overall goal of the master development plan is to ensure that Manila Bay is sustainable and resilient,” Cruz said.
Another example of the University’s institutional collaboration and engagement in the Manila Bay rehabilitation project is the tri-campus effort of UP Diliman, UP Manila and UP Los Baños, as shared by UP Diliman College of Science Dean Laura T. David during a meeting with UP Padayon.
Towards a sustainable and resilient Manila Bay
The Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan project is almost done with its first, planning phase. “The second phase, which is the action-planning phase, will now put flesh to the identified primary measures such as improving water quality, solid waste management as well as conditions of informal settlements, sustainable fisheries, among others. There are different programs for continuous research and monitoring that are lined up, and I think this is where UP’s engagement is vital,” said Cruz.
Meanwhile, David offered the results of the tri-campus research efforts through data-sharing with national and local government agencies involved in the rehabilitation project. David stressed the importance of data-sharing to see and appreciate how much of Manila Bay’s good assets remain.
“We aim to surface the science behind the rehabilitation process as palpably as possible, until we can claim that Manila Bay is safe in terms of its appearance and even scent, and that we are able to swim in it, more so to harvest food from it,” David added.
In these series of coordination meetings, UP Padayon committed to aligning the various University efforts and facilitating significant endeavors, such as the creation of a research and development agenda and mobilization of research funding for the Manila Bay rehabilitation programs lined up. A public forum is also set in September to encourage more participation from students, scholars and experts.