By Michael Aaron Gomez
The Ateneo de Davao University Research Council (URC) conducted a Research Dissemination in the afternoon of Monday, 21 January 2019, at the Finster Auditorium, Jacinto campus. Featured in the conference are research projects undertaken by professors, experts, scholars, and researchers working at the Ateneo de Davao, including Prof. J. Harvey Gamas, Dr. Doris Montecastro, Ph.D., among others. The Research Dissemination was held as a response to the challenge for “Greater Intellectual Engagement for Mission” put forward by University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J. at the beginning of the present school year 2018-2019.
Presenting first at the conference was Prof. J. Harvey Gamas, Chairperson of the Ateneo de Davao University International Studies Department, who delivered his paper titled “Beneath Champa: Locating Butuan in the Pre-colonial International System of Southeast Asia.” The paper aimed to study the history of Butuan as an international polity through an International Relations (IR) perspective, asking “How did Butuan figured [sic] its relations and status with contemporaneous polities in an international system?” The information and “archaeological data attest to Butuan’s successful establishment of direct trading relations with China, maintained by both largesse and raiding.”
Next came the paper delivered by Drs. Joval Afalla, Ph.D., of the AdDU Chemistry Department, and Doris Montecastro, Ph.D., Chairperson of the AdDU Environmental Science Department, titled “Baseline Monitoring of Davao Gulf for Future Assessment of Ocean Acidification and Coral Bleaching.” This research aimed to study whether the Davao Gulf has been showing the effects of climate change. Their research team learned of “an average increase of 1.0 to 2.0°C at the coastal sites (Sasa, Talomo, and Davao River [Bucana]),” and that “the pH had an average increase of 0.4 to 0.6 pH units.” One recommendation gleaned from the study was “studying the implication of the monitoring on the biota and ecosystem as well as its economic impact especially on aquaculture industries.”
The research team led by Profs. Jocelyn Joson, Cleofe Arib, DBA, and Criselda Fuentes conducted a study titled “Mapping of Organic Farms in Davao City.” Their study resulted in the creation of a “database of organic farms in Davao City containing…legal form of business of organic farms, level of certification, crops cultivated, production volume, major products, age of the farm, farm size (in terms of hectares), number of employees working in the farm, average age of employees and market outlet,” as well as a database showing their locations around the city. Another result of this study was the revelation of “common problems faced by organic farmers in relation to their organic farming business.”
Following this was the research presented by Profs. Glenn Depra, Mildred Estanda, and Christine Diaz, Ph.D. titled “Geo-Mapping and Land Suitability Assessment for Climate Resilient Mindanao,” which analyzed the threat posed by climate change to investment opportunities in Davao City. Considerable practical effects on the soil and viable crops from climate change and other factors have been documented by the research team, with “current cash crops (durian, mangosteen, and other fruit-bearing trees) are expected to be affected by rainfall patterns; semi-impermeable soil will lead to root rot while drought will lead to wilting.”
Finally, Drs. Doris Montecastro and John Burtkenly Ong, Ph.D. presented their study titled “Increasing Hazard Awareness in New Bataan,” which was spurred by the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) on the town of New Bataan, Compostela Valley last 4 December 2012, that killed 566 people. The researchers chose one of the resettlement sites built by the National Housing Authority (NHA), which is located at Sitio 5A, Barangay Andap, New Bataan, for the study. Their team “conducted a geohazard assessment of the resettlement…together with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDDRMO) of New Bataan using house-to-house surveys, drone photogrammetry, and field observations,” and charted a “three-dimensional map of the municipality to help raise awareness on disaster preparedness.” Data gathered from the area “indicate that the resettlement site is susceptible to landslides.” Results collected from the study were “used by the MDRRMO as a basis for the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in evaluating the site and for the NHA to decide on re-relocating the residents of Sitio 5A.”
An open forum with the researchers followed the presentations, held at Rooms F710 to F712 in the Finster Hall.
The Research Dissemination is one of the steps taken by the University community to answer the challenge set by Fr. Tabora in his presidential address to open the General Faculty Convocation at the beginning of school year 2018-2019, where he called on the faculty to “work together towards greater intellectual engagement for mission.” This conference is also a part of a series of activities organized by the Committee on Greater Intellectual Engagement for Mission, chaired by Fr. Ulysses S. Cabayao, S.J., from the AdDU Department of Anthropology.
Photos by Tanya Clarisse Marie Mirafuentes, University Research Council