BOHOL, PHILIPPINES – The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office VII and Provincial Science and Technology Office of Bohol, recently conducted its Speakers Bureau last September 19, 2018 at REYNA'S the Haven and Gardens, Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

This activity is a program under the Advisory Function of NAST PHL, which aims to gather and bring experts in various fields to lend their expertise to academic institutions or any interested organizations who are in need of experts on science-related issues. This project was conceived primarily to serve provincial centers, which have less access to S&T information, through scientific and technological lectures as requested by different regions.

Experts invited were: Dr. Arvin C. Diesmos, OYS 2008, scientist III from National Museum of the Philippines, Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, OYS 2011, director of the UP Los Baños Museum of Natural History, Acd. Marco Nemesio E. Montaño, member of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division of NAST PHL, Acd. Guillermo Q. Tabios III, member of the Engineering Sciences and Technology Division of NAST PHL, and Mr. Jeffrey S. Perez, OYS 2017, supervising science research specialist from Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS).

Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, OYS 2011, director of the UP Los Baños Museum of Natural History, focused his presentation about biodiversity in Bohol. He mentioned facts about Philippine tarsier and shared top five (5) common misnomers. (1) Tarsier is not the smallest monkey in the world. Tarsiers are not monkeys, they are prosimians, a primitive group of primates belonging to Suborder Prosimii, which includes lorises, galagos, and lemurs. (2) Tarsier is not the world's smallest primate. Tarsiers are diminutive members of Order Primates, with a head-and-body length (HBL) of 85-180mm and weighs 80-160 gm, it can be considered to be the smallest in the group but not the world's smallest. (3) Tarsiers are not unique only to the Philippines. The Philippine tarsier is not only the member of the genus Tarsius. There are also four species known from Family Tarsiidae distributed in the eastern islands of South East Asia, particularly in Borneo, Sumatra, Sulawesi and southeast Philippines. (4) Philippine tarsiers are not unique to Bohol. It has distribution that spans across the large islands within the Greater Mindanao faunal region. There are records from Mindanao, Samar, Leyte, Dinagat Islands and reports from Basilan, Biliran and Maripipi Islands. (5) Tarsiers can't rotate their heads a full 360 degrees.

In order to have a wide field of vision, tarsiers need to move their head, being able to rotate its head nearly 360 degrees. But not necessarily rotate their head a full 360 degrees.

Dr. Arvin C. Diesmos, OYS 2008, scientist III of the National Museum of the Philippines, presented his study on herpetology in Bohol. According to him, new species continue to be discovered not only in unexplored areas but also in partially explored places. The estimated number of new species to be discovered for amphibians are up to 90 species and atleast 30 species for reptiles. With this, he emphasized the need for more taxonomist to provide us basic understanding of how closely or otherwise different species relate to one another and allows us to identify which species are most in need of conservation action.

Acd. Marco Nemesio E. Montaño, member of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division of NAST PHL, talked about uses of seaweeds and its products. According to him, seaweeds are forms of algae that grow in the sea and a well-known source of food hydrocolloids, such as agar, alginates, and carrageenan. Agar is being used in medical/pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry, packaging and food applications. On the other hand, alginates are being used for casting, dental impression molds and serve as ink for printing. In making of films and coating for fish and fruits, carrageenan is being used to extend shelf-life and to maintain the quality. There are diverse Philippine seaweeds that can be used in a variety of products. However, seaweeds properties need to be studied. Thus, he highlighted the need for scientists and technologist to collaborate with phycologists/marine scientist.

Acd. Guillermo Q. Tabios III, member of the Engineering Sciences and Technology Division of NAST PHL, presented saltwater intrusion and fecal coliform transport studies in Panglao Island, Bohol. He stressed that salinity distribution in Panglao Island is spatially non-uniform, which can be attributed to the complex configuration of its karstic (limestone) geology thus difficult to identify areas where to sustainability pump freshwater groundwater. He then suggested constructing horizontal wells or infiltration galleries instead of drilling vertical wells/deepwells.

Mr. Jeffrey S. Perez, OYS 2017, supervising science research specialist from DOST-PHIVOLCS, discussed geological stability of Bohol Island. He stated that Philippines is prone to natural hazards due to its tectonic and geographic setting. According to him, earthquakes occur everyday but most people don't notice the small ones. In average, Philippines encounter 20 earthquakes each day and atleast 45 earthquakes per week. Palawan is the only place in the country that has no earthquake because in terms of geology and tectonic setting, it is part of China. He also highligted that Bohol was formed because of an earthquake. He pointed out that land areas were lifted upward during big earthquakes. Furthermore, he reiterated the importance of appropriate preparedness, mitigation and response activities. Active fauts in Bohol includes North Bohol Fault, Maribojoc Fault, and East Bohol Fault. He informed everyone that no more large earthquake would occur generated by the North Bohol Fault. The reoccurence interval of North Bohol Fault that moved on 2013 with 7.2 magnitude is more than 400 years.

However, he warned them on the quake due to East Bohol Fault. He suggested that possible hazards and its effects in localities and the whole region must be imagined to craft and implement appropriate solutions. He also encouraged everyone to download the PHILVOCS Faulfinder, which is web-based and mobile phone (android) application to locate the nearest active fault from a specified location or the named barangay.


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