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Govt execs, scientists gather for scientific confab on Guimaras rehab

November 17, 2006

By Florence F. Hibionada
The News Today, Nov. 17, 2006

TOP government officials and some 70 scientists will converge in the Province of Guimaras for a scientific conference and forum aimed at boosting continued rehabilitation efforts in oil-spill hit Guimaras communities.

With sessions set to hear out major concerns and persistent issues surrounding post clean-up operations, the two-day conference is a joint undertaking of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), the Provincial Government of Guimaras, Petron Corporation and University of the Philippines.

The conference will serve as venue for the integration of all scientific assessments completed thus far on the status of Guimaras ecosystems, productivity and biodiversity. It is further expected to provide answers on questions surrounding “scientific bases for the effective medium to long-term rehabilitation and improvement of coastal and marine habitats and organisms.”

Now on the third month of oil-spill (mis) event here, the gathering will also come up with rehabilitation measures for restored livelihoods and welfare of human communities and “contribute to the country’s knowledge on oil spills and the development of response protocols as well as enhanced capacities in dealing with future incidents at local, regional and national levels.”

Further still, the conference is geared towards providing the government the opportunity to provide a sound basis for a subsequent donor’s forum to fund required rehabilitation and monitoring activities.

Sessions on biological assessment, physico-chemical and fisheries assessment, socio-economic and health assessments are set alongside plenary presentation thereafter.

As such, officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will do the mangrove assessment and impact on coral reefs with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Health issues will also be addressed as well as the impact of the oil spill on fishery resources.

Workshops will also be conducted on Natural Resources Rehabilitation Plan, Socio-Economic Rehabilitation Plan and Oil Spill Preparedness Response and Protocols.

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