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Monday, December 6, 2021

2021 East Asian SEAS Congress opens successfully, carries message of H.O.P

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

True to its theme of “Charting a New Decade of H.O.P.E. (Healthy Ocean, People and Economies), the 2021 East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress opened successfully onsite in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and virtually today, December 1. An atmosphere of optimism, determination and resilience following a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marked the beginning of a two-day series of events and sessions that brought together various ocean stakeholders from 11 countries across the region.

The 2021 EAS Congress is a triennial event widely recognized as a platform for dialogue, knowledge exchange, strategic action, partnership building and cooperation in support of the region’s common vision of sustainable development of the Seas of East Asia. The event was hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia, and co-organized by the Ministry of Environment, Province of Preah Sihanouk, and Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA).


Kicking off Day 1 of the EAS Congress was the inauguration of the PEMSEA Network of Learning Centers (PNLC), and the approval of the network’s Charter formalizing the PNLC. The PNLC Charter specifies the ground rules on membership; identifies joint activities and outputs amongst its members; and explores options for sustainability and funding support through voluntary member contributions or joint fundraising initiatives. The approval of the network’s Charter also translates to the implementation of the PEMSEA Training and Capacity Development Plan for the next 5 years.

Signing the PNLC Charter during the event were Burapha University (BUU), Thailand; Cavite State University (CvSU), Philippines; De La Salle Lipa (DLSL), Philippines; Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan; IPB University – Center for Coastal and Marine Resources Studies (IPB-CCMRS), Indonesia; Oriental University of Timor Leste (UNITAL), Timor-Leste; Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), Cambodia; Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL), Timor-Leste; University of Da Nang (UD), Viet Nam; University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), Philippines and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (XU), Philippines.

Other universities who approved the PNLC Charter include Kim II Sung University (KISU), DPR Korea; Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Thailand; and Xiamen University- Coastal and Ocean Management Institute (XMU-COMI), China.

In his Opening Remarks, Dr. Vann Monyneath, PEMSEA EAS Partnership Council Co-Chair, said that the signing of the PNLC Charter is a “very important first step in formalizing the network and promoting collaboration amongst its members.” Dr. Wansuk Senanan, President of the PEMSEA Network of Learning Centers, acknowledged that the inauguration of the PNLC “reminds us we can achieve so much from working together.” She also highlighted that the network’s regional synergies provided extensive technical services supporting on-the-ground Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) projects and initiatives; as well as facilitating technology transfer and providing a platform for learning towards achieving SDG 14 (Life Below Water).

Dr. Jae Ryoung Oh, Chair of the Technical Session of the EAS Partnership Council, closed the session and provided the next steps for the PNLC which includes the conduct of a General Assembly by February 2022; and the call for nominations for PNLC Officers; drafting of PNLC Code of Conduct; drafting of the 5-year Operational Plan; and drafting of the 2023 work plan and budget.

Launched in 2015, the PNLC is a forum for information exchange, networking and sharing of expertise and experience on Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) across countries in the EAS region. The network is comprised of professionals and scientific experts from several universities and scientific institutes that include three PEMSEA Regional Centers of Excellence (RCOE) and ICM Learning Centers and 15 members across nine countries.


Immediately following the PNLC inauguration was the holding of the annual forum of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments (PNLG). The PNLG is a self-sustaining network of local governments implementing ICM programs with a view to pursuing blue economy pathway. PNLG members led by current PNLG President Mdm. Noraini Binti Roslan were on hand to witness the signing and approval of the Preah Sihanouk PNLG Declaration adopting the 2022-2030 PNLG Strategic Action Plan (SAP). The PNLG SAP features key actions on strengthening governance and partnerships, implementation of management programs related to the four UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 6, 11, 13, 14), and enhancing monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

In his welcome remarks, H.E. KUOCH Chamroeun, Governor of the Provincial Administration of Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia said, “We recognize the PNLG Forum as a platform for all coastal provinces and cities in the East Asian Seas, particularly PNLG network members, to share their knowledge, lessons learned, experiences, input, and new interventions resulting from their practices in development, recreation, and conservation of the marine environment and ocean toward sustainability.”

“As a result, all local governments should join the PNLG family in order to be involved in the management, protection, and rehabilitation of the resources in our coastal, marine, and oceans in a sustainable manner for future generations,” he added.

Dr. Vann Monyneath, Secretary General of the Cambodia Ministry of Environment and Co-Chair of the EAS Partnership Council said, “Thanks to the support of our PNLG members, we were able to achieve our targets set in the Da Nang Compact 2015, specifically the completion of a regional State of Oceans and Coasts report and 10 equivalent reports at the national level focusing on the blue economy. Likewise, we have scaled up our ICM efforts, which at present cover an estimated 40 percent of the region’s coastline and contiguous watershed areas, which is well beyond the 25 percent target set by the Compact by 2021. We have also facilitated the formulation, adoption, and implementation of policies, action plans and programs on coastal, rivers, associated watershed areas, and ocean ecosystems.”

Other highlights included the election of new PNLG officers (Dr. Le Quang Nam of Viet Nam as President and Mr. Ahmed Zaki Iskandar of Indonesia as Vice President); the induction of Busan, RO Korea as the new 55th PNLG member; and the announcement of Tangerang Regency of Indonesia as the local government host of the next PNLG Annual Forum in 2022.


Senior government officials from Cambodia were in attendance including H.E. Eang Sophalleth, Secretary of State, who delivered the welcome remarks from the host country; while H.E. Kuoch Chamroeun, Governor of Preah Sihanouk, also welcomed the participants. Overall EAS Congress Chair Minister Say Samal, Minister of Environment and Vice President of the Cambodia National Committee of Coastal Management and Development, delivered the keynote address. Mr. Arief Yuwono, EAS Partnership Council Chair, delivered remarks on behalf of PEMSEA.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Eang Sophalleth, Secretary of State of Cambodia, said “The last two years have been a challenging period for our region and the whole world, plunged into an unprecedented health crisis caused by the global outbreak of COVID-19. While this pandemic wreaked havoc to many lives and livelihoods, it has taught us many lessons. It makes us rethink and reset our relationship with nature. Overcoming the pandemic and striving to restore livelihoods and economic growth have been the top priority for all countries. We must work collaboratively in synergy to build back better.”

In his keynote address, Minister Say Samal said, “The first thing I am pleased to emphasize here is the many achievements of our collaboration under PEMSEA mechanism. These have laid a strong foundation for moving forward our agenda to further ensure marine protection, sustainable livelihood of the people and sustainable blue economy, which is an important driver of growth; we need to build on these achievements.” He added that “There is, therefore, the need for our PEMSEA to foster and sustain healthy and resilient coasts and oceans, communities and economies across the Seas of East Asia through integrated management solutions and partnerships. Through PEMSEA mechanism, we are in a good position to provide solutions for effective management of coasts and oceans across the shared seas of East Asia, as we have been doing over the past two decades.”

The conference featured a plenary session focusing on the future of the coasts and ocean in the region with global experts and their respective presentations:

· “Promoting sustainable coastal and ocean governance in the run- up to 2030” by Dr. Andrew Hudson, Head, Water and Ocean Governance Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);

· “Harnessing private and public financing and investment to promote blue economy” by Sir Danny Alexander, Vice President for Policy and Strategy, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); and

· “Empowering young scientists and promoting innovation under the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science” by Dr. Gil Jacinto, Philippine National Focal Person for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

A moderated discussion followed the presentations with Dr. Gil Jacinto; Ms. Akiko Yamamoto, Regional Team Leader for Nature, Climate and Energy, Bangkok Regional Hub, UNDP; and Mr. Frank Belitz, Principal Officer, Strategy and Policy Department, AIIB on the panel. PEMSEA Executive Director Aimee Gonzales also shared the conclusions and recommendations from the Plenary and knowledge sharing sessions held in the lead up to the EAS Congress.



Capping the events on Day 1 was PEMSEA’s Partnership Night, a fun and nostalgic homecoming segment featuring former and current partners, staff, sponsors and stakeholders. A key feature of the celebration was the launching of “SEA CHANGE: The PEMSEA Story,” a coffee table book and online publication that chronicles PEMSEA’s 28-year journey from its early days as a regional marine pollution project to becoming a regional coordinating mechanism for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA).

Dr. Chua Thia-Eng, Chair Emeritus of the EAS Partnership Council, and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident Representative, Philippine Country Office, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) shared their thoughts on PEMSEA’s contributions to the SDS-SEA and other global sustainability efforts.

Other event highlights included an Appreciation and Recognition ceremony for the many invaluable contributions of some of PEMSEA’s long-time collaborators. Receiving the PEMSEA Special Citations Awards were Mr. Long Rithirak, PEMSEA’s focal point in Cambodia and Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Environment and Dr. Jose Padilla for his role in assisting PEMSEA in helping secure regional multi-million projects such as the UNDP/GEF Scaling up the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) and the GEF/UNDP Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Phase II (ATSEA-2).

A copy of The PEMSEA Story will be available for download starting December 1, 2021 at

For more information on the 2021 EAS Congress, visit

Benilde MMA prof animates metaphor for pandemic

Wazzup Pilipinas!

A multimedia artist, inspired by “the isolation, danger, and anxieties we face during the pandemic,” has channeled her art into an animation for an online project.

Set in an imaginary kingdom in a virtual space, Hannah Ruth Sison’s “Portal” focuses on “a space that we also share and travel to everyday.” It is one of the artworks featured in “To Differ, Digitally 2: Love and Dissent in the Time of Pandemic,” a digital art exhibition initiated by the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Center for Campus Art in collaboration with the DLS-CSB New Media Cluster faculty.

Sison, who has been teaching MMA as a part-time faculty at Benilde since 2010, intended “Portal” to be an allegory. “Media has been our mirror to the outside world – seeing the atrocities, being jealous of those who have it better, seeing deaths, but at the same time, it is also our portal and space to be together with loved ones and our last time to be with those who depart. It is also a portal to learn from each other and reach out to people,” she explained.

Like many Filipinos, her family has also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so working on the project felt very personal to her. “Challenging because of time, energy, and some limitations in knowledge, yet learning never stops,” the freelance multimedia artist stressed.

Sison lost one of her best friends, Mark Mijares, who is also her brother-in-law and co-faculty at Benilde. She dedicates her project to the victims of the pandemic as well as those who had to go through these hardships. She is grateful to CCA led by Architect Gerry Torres, TDD2 co-curator Karen Ocampo Flores, and NMC headed by Associate Dean Maria Sharon Mapa Arriola for making “Portal” possible.

“What was supposedly a series of intricate drawings turned out to be more simple illustrations with added music and little animation because hopefully, the story will be best shown that way. Portal, hopefully, can become a series if time and efforts persist. But it is one part for now. Succeeding parts will be produced soon,” the multimedia designer revealed.

“The story through its hidden meanings and symbolism also aims to open our eyes to the darkness and the love during this pandemic. And that despite our physical isolation, we can still be together in our own world,” she added.

Sison graduated with a degree of Multimedia Arts at Benilde and a Master of Arts in Communication Major in Applied Media Studies at De La Salle University. She is currently taking up her doctorate degree in Media Studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Her research interests include the virtual, new media, and the link between media and her love for music, games, art, and others.

Apart from teaching, she has been working as a multimedia artist for various brands, events, and companies, mostly on graphic design, photography, and illustrations. She also dabbles as a part-time model on the side, being a Binibining Pilipinas first-runner up winner in 2015.

Joining Sison in TDD2 are motion graphics artist and designer Yolec Homecillo, 3D artist Volty Garcia, graphic designer and writer Katrina Juane, visual communicator Vanessa Puente, visual artist Emily Mones, designer, writer and artist Brian Bringas and graphic designers Dino Brucelas and Rafael Liao, writer and designer Erika Garalde, multidisciplinary artist Teta Tulay, event consultant Mito Tubilleja, writer and content developer Penny Angeles-Tan, filmmaker and creative producer Seymour Barros Sanchez, film educator and writer Jag Garcia, photographer Jay Javier, and animator Benjie Marasigan.

TDD2 looks at the digital landscape as a platform to communicate constructive protest based on love and empathy. Aside from animation, it also features photographs, live action films, 2D and 3D models and rigs, texts, audio, applications, software, graphic design, and illustrations. The works are available at CCA’s new website (

For more information about the exhibit and other projects, visit CCA’s social media accounts on Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram ( and YouTube channel ( “Portal” is available for viewing here:


Saturday, December 4, 2021

LPU MMA majors vie for Rotary PSA Festival 2021 awards

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Six Multimedia Arts students from the Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila campus will compete for the top prizes on December 11 as they made it to the semifinals of the 5th Rotary Public Service Announcement (PSA) Festival.

Eunice Angelica G. San Juan’s “Boto Para sa Pagbabago” (Vote for Change), Mark Wilson S. Catindig’s “Kain-Basura” (Food for Trash), Dan Enrico P. Picardal’s “Billiards,” Rikki Lou Bonifacio’s “Laro Tayo, Resiklo” (Let’s Play, Recycle) and Venus Mariel Orbon’s and Lovely Rose Veroya’s “Hide and Seek” have been selected among 355 submissions from 27 different high schools and colleges nationwide.

The Rotary Club of Circuit Makati has been organizing the Rotary PSA Festival, a 30-second video making contest for amateur and student filmmakers, since 2017. Last year, LPU Manila had four semifinalists in the competition, namely Ashley Cordero’s “Alone,” Francis Alba’s “Mother Tongue,” Austin Banaag’s “TULOy Tuloy,” and Rochelle Philippe Jedidah Urag’s and James Nadora’s “Ang Ating Gubat” (Our Forest). All nine LPU semifinalists were submitted as final projects to their Fundamentals of Film and Video Production subject.

Five semifinalists were chosen for each of the seven Rotary International Areas of Focus, namely Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Supporting Environment, Water and Sanitation, Maternal and Child Health, Economic and Community Development, Disease Prevention and Treatment, and Basic Education and Literacy. All 35 semifinalists will automatically receive 2,000 pesos each.

The Top 5 winners will each be awarded cash prizes amounting to 35,000 pesos (first prize), 25,000 pesos (second), 15,000 pesos (third), 10,000 pesos (fourth), and 5,000 pesos (fifth) plus a digital certificate of recognition from the organizers. A special award for Best Direction will also be given 5,000 pesos and a plaque to the director who has exhibited outstanding direction for a video entry.

San Juan’s PSA focuses on the victims of extrajudicial killings “as violence and killings are still alarmingly increasing,” she said. “We might not see it often in the news, but it is still present. I want people to never forget about these innocent victims who died during this administration and still haven’t got justice yet.”

“As Election 2022 is slowly approaching, we are hoping for a change to avoid injustices and abuse of authority. We are yearning for an administration that is competent. Voting wisely starts with the Filipino. We should always be reminded that no one is above the law, even the president. So we have to speak and fight for the victims whose voices are silenced,” San Juan stressed.

Meanwhile, Orbon and Veroya, who are both advocates of women empowerment, shared that their PSA was inspired by “friends and family who have suffered greatly because of failed marriages and domestic violence and friends who have traumatic experiences from being physically abused.”

“We wanted this entry to be an eye-opener to the public that not everyone has the same childhood experiences, and not every child has the same safe environment, and not all women have their dreams come true when they get married,” Veroya revealed.

“The experiences we had heard from people around us made us believe how strong a woman – a mother – can be for her children, and for those who suffer from this kind of situation. We wanted them to be free because we always believe that a woman is where we all came from. A threat to her life is a threat to our own,” she added.

Catindig, who also competed at the Three Shots Film Festival last month, believes that developing opportunities for the community is a small step in building a better nation. “Listening and creating solutions for the neighborhood is one of the many ways to develop a self-sufficient community. In creating this call for action, I didn’t need to seek inspiration. I just laid the platform for the voice of the community,” he explained.

On the other hand, Bonifacio noticed his nephews playing with pinwheels made from plastic bottles while he was conceptualizing for a project. He was able to think of an idea by recycling plastics to reduce pollution for the Supporting Environment category. He added that he wants to persuade people not just to throw their trash everywhere but to use them creatively in coming up with useful projects.

Picardal, for his part, based his concept on a game. “Since the start of the pandemic, we all miss going out, doing things we normally do. I waited for the time we will get the vaccine for this pandemic, too. As we experience more and more variants, people still seem to resist getting a vaccine shot now that we got it. The concept is simple. I just based it on a game that I’m not good at but I like watching, billiards.”

Apart from getting high grades, some of the students were also motivated to work on a good project by the Rotary PSA Festival cash prizes which can help them during the pandemic.

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