Last November 28, 2014, the Filipino Cave Divers (FCD) and the University of San Carlos (USC) – Biology Department forged the country’s first-ever partnership between a team of underwater cave explorers and a team of university scientists.
The relationship is officially sealed with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will strongly encourage collaborative research projects in underwater caves; the exchange of scientific materials, information, and publications; lectures and symposia; and the promotion of other academic cooperation between both organizations.
Both the FCD and USC share a common goal of furthering the protection of the Philippines’ natural resources. With FCD’s technical expertise on cave diving, the partnership will enhance USC’s science-based approach to addressing local biological resources, environmental issues and problems.
USC’s technical expertise on taxonomy and systematics, as well as biodiversity conservation will complement FCD’s primary focus which is the exploration, survey and subsequent protection of underwater cave systems in the Philippines.
With this merging of brilliant scientific minds, passionate cave divers and environmentally concerned citizens, the country can expect a boost in substantial research related to the biological, hydrological and geological studies of the underwater cave systems in the Philippines!
The signing of the MOU, which was held at the USC- Talamban Campus was attended by Ms. Annie Diola- USC Faculty, Dr. Danilo Dy- USC Faculty, Mr. Dave Valles- USC Museum Curator, Mr. Dean Apistar- FCD Biologist, Mr. Bernil Gastardo- FCD President, Mr. Ariel Rica- Region VII Division Chief of the Regional Protected Areas and Wildlife Division, Ms. Bernadette Bragat- PAWD technical staff, 5 other scientists of the USC Biology Department and Mr. Terence Dacles of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Acknowledgment and appreciation goes to MOU co-signatory, Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD- USC President and to Dr. Danilo Largo- USC Bio Dept. Dean and Dr. Julie Otadoy- USC Bio Dept. Chair for their participation in the development of the MOU.