UP marine scientists to DENR: Experts' services are free but pay for research expenses

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2020 04:06 PM

Pedestrians take photos of the crushed dolomite "white sand" project in Manila Bay on September 28, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Marine scientists from the University of the Philippines said Tuesday their services to help rehabilitate Manila Bay are for free but other research expenses should be shouldered by “clients.”

This, after DENR undersecretary Benny Antiporda earlier said the government is willing to coordinate with the UP Marine Science Institute (MSI) as long as it’s “free.”

“[The] UP MSI would like to clarify that the Institute provides the scientific advice and technical inputs of its experts for free, in accordance with UP’s mandate as national university,” the institute said in a statement. 

“However, some questions and problems cannot be addressed without conducting research in the field or laboratory experiments so as to come up with science-based answers or to develop local capabilities,” it added.

The institute said expenses used to conduct the research should be shouldered by the client as they are not a “line agency in the government’s executive branch.”

“The costs of scientific research and investigation, from the use of laboratories and research equipment and facilities, to support for research assistants, should be, as they actually are shouldered by the clients, as the UPMSI is not a line agency in the government’s executive branch,” the UP MSI said. 

“Moreover, all of the UPMSI’s research and development activities are project-based, with very specific fund disbursement guidelines and limitations. The internal Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) funds of UPMSI are limited to maintaining the laboratory facilities and field equipment in Diliman and the Bolinao Marine Laboratory,” it added.

The marine scientists earlier said there are no shortcuts in addressing environmental problems in Manila Bay, and dumping dolomite does not offer a solution.

They added that the rehabilitation of Manila Bay is an "arduous task" and efforts should come from residents, people using the area, and the government noting that authorities should address "poor water quality" and the "threat of erosion" in Manila Bay under the government's rehabilitation program.

- With reports from Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News