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Research lab opened in Pag-asa Island

Republika

The West Philippine Sea has a new Philippine symbol of territorial rights: a research hub. The University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) says it was created in order for more data on the maritime resources of the country to be gathered. Taking its name from Pag-asa Island where it’s situated, the hub is called Pag-asa Research Station (PRIS).


“The overall objective [of PRIS] is for sovereignty to be asserted, doing things necessary to discover and understand resources available,” UP MSI’s Dr. Fernando Siringan told ABS-CBN in a mix of Tagalog and English.
Numerous foreign vessels have been documented by UP MSI on the island, with around 20 to 30 being Chinese ships.


There is a small Filipino community on Pag-asa Island who will benefit from the hub’s findings over time. It’s also a step towards sustainable living across living systems. Typical problems of the residents include regular commercial transportation being unavailable, affecting their supplies. It’s an issue as mainland Palawan is at a distance.


UP experts are at the helm of PRIS, studying matters such as plastic pollution reduction and ways for fishing systems on the islan to improve.

PRIS is also ideal for the Kalayaan Group of Islands to be explored in better detail. Valuable marine resources are said to be contained within the said cluster.


“This is very far from the mainland so we’re expecting to find unusual things since it’s far from typical influences like rivers. It’s relatively isolated,” Siringan said. “We expect to find exciting discoveries in the near future.”


“We need to treat the area like other parts of the Philippines where there’s no limit to activities such as a marine science expedition and have no problems conducting scientific research,” UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea Jay Batongbacal added.


By 2022, PRIS will have 24-hour staff comprised of Filipino scientists on board per week.

Photo: Twitter/ @JayBatongbacal


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