The 25th National Cave Committee Meeting was held last July 3, 2018 at the National Museum of Natural History. In attendance were FCD Juan Naval and Alex Santos.
Here are a few updates on what transpired:
There is a push to create a Cave Registry of the country where public and classified caves will be posted with names and locations. This will be based on existing projects that are done by independent groups on Google Maps platform. At present, there exist over 2,000 known caves all over the Philippines with only 616 being classified to date. The objective of a cave registry is to simplify the management and protection for each.
Policies regarding Cave Exploration by Foreigners (implicitly including underwater caving) are being studied as different government agencies will be involved in its presentation and implementation. It must be clearly enforceable and practical. Taking control of these expeditions will also serve to bilaterally increase the data on the cave. Expeditions will be required to submit an initial summary of the survey prior to leaving the country and a final report shall be filed after a designated period.
Collateral and informational material that describes cave classification to be distributed to different cave sites and groups was evaluated and commented upon. There were requests to create translations and infographics to aid in conveying the message.
A resolution for Good Cave Management Practices has been approved in spirit, with an appendix to be added by FCD pertaining to underwater caving.
There was also a motion to establish a pathway for Caving organizations to seek approval for cave congress venues to avoid confusion on which areas can be used for Cave Classification III Events.
Lastly a few off table discussions were made, including but not limited to the possibility of creating and defining a Quick Response Team for cave related incidents.
Note: The National Museum has been exploring caves since 1901.