Oct 272014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/02/09MANILA214.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA214
2009-02-02 08:54
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

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DE RUEHML #0214/01 0330854
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020854Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3038
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZU/APEC COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUENAAA/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 000214

SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES/SCT FOR EKANE, TSCOTT, WBEND
STATE FOR OES/OA FOR LTIRPAK AND RBARNES
STATE FOR ISN/CTR KCROFT
BANGKOK FOR REO HHOWARD
STATE PASS EPA MKASMAN AND DSTEELE
STATE PASS ONR JREID
STATE PASS NASA BHOLDEN AND HMARING

REF: 2007 MANILA 3482

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KSCA TSPL SENV ENRG TRGY TSPA EAGR RP
SUBJECT: Geek Swaps Benefit U.S. and Philippines

¶1. Summary: U.S. agencies and private institutions have active
science partnerships in the Philippines that build goodwill and
capacity in both nations and add to global knowledge. The synergy
that results from USG active engagement in science in the
Philippines is beneficial to the work of USG science agencies and
private U.S. scientific institutions as well as to Philippine
scientists. We expect scientific collaboration to accelerate after
the signing of an improved bilateral Science and Technology
agreement in the near future. This report gives examples of how we
facilitate bilateral science cooperation. End summary.

¶2. The geological events of the last 50 million years and
remarkable biodiversity of the Philippines make it of tremendous
scientific interest. Post now actively connects scientists; obtains
marine and aerial clearances through a cumbersome Philippine
bureaucratic process; and finds audiences for training, meetings,
and scientific presentations. After a Post-facilitated marine
exploration (reftel), National Geographic scientists dazzled school
groups, media, and Philippine government officials with images of in
new scientific discoveries. Post has hosted six Science Fellows
during the last two years. One of our Science Fellows shepherded
the Philippines into the Environmental Protection Agency-led
Environmental Technology Verification International Working Group,
and another of our Science Fellows helped draft pending Philippine
technology transfer legislation based on the Bayh-Dole Act.

New Science and Technology Agreement
————————————

¶3. Post worked with Philippine agencies to craft an improved
bilateral science agreement to institutionalize scientific exchange
meetings; facilitate cooperation like the Biosecurity Engagement
Program; speed marine scientific clearances; and exempt U.S. foreign
assistance money from taxes. A Philippine Department of Foreign
Affairs Assistant Secretary is so delighted with increased
scientific cooperation over the last few years that she has
consulted with other agencies to establish cooperative activities in
non-traditional areas of science.

¶4. The U.S research vessel R/V Melville returns to Philippine
waters in February 2009 to continue investigating ocean temperature
and circulation patterns. Post arranged for the Melville’s American
and Filipino scientific team to conduct ship tours to showcase the
value of scientific cooperation between the Philippines and the U.S.
We will use the tours to spur review and acceptance of the new
Science and Technology agreement.

Atmospheric Sciences/Tracking Climate Change
——————————————–

¶5. The U.S. National Aviation and Space Administration (NASA)
signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Manila
Observatory on January 21, 2009, to install instruments to track
aerosols in Southeast Asia via satellite and ground stations. This
joint NASA and Office of Naval Research (ONR) program studies
pollution impacts on global climate change. U.S. scientists will
distribute instruments to Philippine science students to augment
aerosol data collection. Post plans an International Visitors’
group to build capacity for this research, and will request a
science fellow from NASA and/or ONR.

¶6. Post has worked closely with Philippine scientists on the USG
Methane to Market Partnership, assisting the Philippines to become a
partner in March 2008. Since Philippine agricultural activity
produces 45% of methane, we invited a U.S. Department of Agriculture
methane expert through the Embassy Science Fellows Program to
consult with Philippine pig farmers. An Environmental Protection
Agency agricultural expert visits quarterly to work with the
Philippine government and private sector on methane capture
programs. Filipinos attended agriculture and landfill Partnership
committee meetings in Mexico January 2009.

¶7. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) signed an Earth Sciences
Memorandum of Understanding in March 2007 to provide technical
advice to Philippine officials and coal mine owners. Since the MOU
was signed, Philippine officials have attended USGS workshops, and a

MANILA 00000214 002 OF 003

USGS coalbed methane expert has made repeated visits to the
Philippines to introduce methane capture technologies.

Scientific Collaboration in Philippine Waters
———————————————

¶8. Over the past two and a half years, American scientists have
applied for Philippine government clearance to explore Philippine
waters on 18 different research projects. U.S.-Philippine
collaborative research has involved students from both countries in
oceanography and marine biology, increasing capabilities of
developing scientists. The University of the Philippines and
National Institute of Health have a project to seek cures for
diseases from marine sources. The National Science Foundation has
funded a multi-year study of marine evolution. National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration-funded research resulted in the discovery
of new marine species. American and Filipino oceanographers and
biologists have collected and shared data with the Philippine
government and the international scientific community.

Laboratory Collaboration
————————

¶9. Post has actively promoted the State Department’s Biosecurity
Engagement Program in the Philippines since 2006 to strengthen
laboratory safety and security and collaborate on infectious disease
diagnostics, research, and surveillance. Post orchestrated U.S.
scientists’ surveys of Philippine facilities to locate dangerous
pathogen collections. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the
Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry continue joint animal disease
research and the State Department has purchased and gifted an animal
incinerator to the Philippines for disposing of diseased animals.
Post organized workshops for Philippine lab directors and
policymakers. Consequently, Filipino stakeholders established the
Philippine Biosafety/Biosecurity Association.

¶10. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
personnel in Manila have assisted Philippine researchers to
investigate the 2008 discovery of Ebola Reston antibodies in
Philippine hogs that had died of an undetermined cause. CDC
scientists are also leading the investigation of the January 2009
discovery of Ebola Reston antibodies in a Filipino hog farm worker,
the first such case ever found. Investigators will conduct
extensive laboratory and field study to determine the transmission
vectors and implications of the spread of this antibody. The
opportunity for CDC researchers to participate in this and other
similar investigations, has significantly increased Filipino,
American, and global understanding of emerging infectious diseases.

Preserving Philippine Forests and Coastlines
——————————————–

¶11. A “debt for nature” swap with the United States allows the
Philippines to divert $8 million in interest payments on debt owed
to the U.S. for Philippine forest conservation. USAID and State
Department officers represent the United States on the board that
selects and funds forest conservation activities of local
non-governmental organizations, which has given 87 grants to
conserve, maintain, or restore Philippine tropical forests. Through
our Science Fellows Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture
forester made site visits and evaluated these projects.

¶12. Post arranged for the Manila Observatory to host a Science
Fellow from the Environmental Protection Agency to work on
environmental issues of Philippine coastlines. The Science Fellow
introduced modeling to demonstrate how human activity, such as
pollution and mangrove deforestation, can cause coral bleaching.
The scientists at Manila Observatory now use the information in
their own outreach programs.

¶13. The above paragraphs give a sample of the science fellowships,
lectures, scientific projects, and exchanges that have taken place
in recent years, but do not touch on the many science-related
activities of USAID. Post expects the quantity, quality and scope
of bilateral cooperation in joint research projects to increase with

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the signing of the improved Science and Technology agreement in the
near future.
KENNEY

   

 

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