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Dr. Gil S. Jacinto
UP Arcoast Network Director
I had planned and wanted very much to join you today but as this message is being read, I would be somewhere in the Kalayaan Group of Islands joined by my staff and our counterparts of Vietnamese marine scientists on board a Vietnamese research vessel. We would be sailing from Vietnam to the Philippines conducting oceanographic and marine biological studies in the Spratlys, considered to be disputed territory. It is a historic event that, among others, would be flagged by the UP Archipelagic and Ocean Studies (Arcoast) Website that is being officially launched today.
While in Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang, just before the start of the cruise, I was thrilled to view, even if only briefly, our Arcoast website, accessed hundreds of kilometers from its source and unimpeded by the boundaries of time and space. And that is what our website is envisioned to be – a medium for those within and outside the University of the Philippines (UP) to readily obtain information on issues and events relevant to our country's being an archipelagic state. We envision the UP Arcoast Website to be a pointer of information sources, especially in and on the Philippines on archipelagic and ocean studies.
We anticipate virtual discussion groups transported in a medium that would link individuals and UP campuses; discussions that would not be hampered by distance or time. What you see today in our webpage is only the beginning of what we hope to be a dynamic and sustained effort to offer news and information on Arcoast. Interestingly enough, it is precisely this medium that has enabled us to put up our first newsletter in electronic form much ahead of the print version, bypassing the initial limitations of fund availability.
I would like to acknowledge the tremendous contributions of Bella Lucas of the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies, Nina Ibañez our Research Assistant for the Network Program, and Reuben Campos of the UP Marine Science Institute. Without their efforts, the UP Arcoast Webpage would not have been possible. Also, without the logistical and moral support of CIDS which serves as the Secretariat for Arcoast, particularly CIDS Executive Director, Dr. Cynthia Bautista, our webpage would not have been born. Finally, in behalf of the UP Arcoast Research Fellows, I would like to thank the UP System Administration, especially UP Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Maris Diokno, for giving this relatively new program a chance to set its pace and track record, and then providing the resources to back up its initial projects.
Indeed, it is an exciting time to be around; albeit also overwhelming. The information superhighway ensures that this be the case for UP Arcoast. We, therefore, invite you to visit our website and be active participants in this journey. Thank you and good day.