The “Filipino Melting Pot” Can Help in Developing the “PH Trench”

by Bobby Reyes

“Coral & Limestone, Coron Island, Palawan, Philippines” | Photo by Ray in Manila via Flickr/Creative Commons

Part XV of “The Filipino Melting Pot” Series

The Philippine Trench (also known as the Philippine Deep, or Mindanao Trench, and Mindanao Deep) is a submarine trench to the east of the Philippines (PH). The trench is located in the Philippine Sea of the western North Pacific Ocean and continues NNW-SSE. It has a length of approximately 1,320 kilometers (820 miles) and a width of about 30 km (19 mi) from the center of the Philippine island of Luzon, trending southeast to the northern Maluku island of Halmahera in Indonesia. The trench reaches 10,540 meters (34,580 ft) or (5,760 fathoms) at its deepest point. More details about the Philippine Trench are found in the Wikipedia.

The PH Trench is within the 200-mile Economic Zone of the Filipino homeland.

I attended virtually a discussion sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) last April 22, 2021, which was Earth Day. But I chose to delay my account of it in this column, as I devoted my topics to the pressing vaccination vicissitudes against the COVID-19 disease of the Philippines and India. But I decided not to ask any question during the forum about a topic that I am developing about the Tench. I will ask the case when the USCC convenes again a meeting on Energy and the Environment on May 13, 2021.

The topic of the virtual conference of the USCC was Carbon Removal Policy Trends and the CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage). The CCUS is an important emission-reduction technology applied across the energy system.

I am not an engineer. I do not even have an engineering background. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree (major in journalism) at San Beda College, and I reached the fourth year at the Ateneo de Manila College of Law. But as some of my journalism professors opined, while I was not the brightest student in the class, I probably had the best “imagination” of all their students. And I think that I do deserve the accolade for my imaginative ideas, like how the Trench can help save our planet from the disastrous effects of Climate Change (Global Warming).

… for my imaginative ideas, like how the Trench can help save our planet from the disastrous effects of Climate Change (Global Warming).”

In February 2015, I attended a four-day World of Concrete Trade Show in the Las Vegas Convention Center for three reasons:

  • I was a registered media professional.
  • I was a leading American cement manufacturer guest where my only daughter, Maria Liza, works.
  • They offered me a large area of limestone deposit in Cebu. It was a potential site for a state-of-the-art factory of quick-dry cement that also triples the life of the so-called “Portland Cement.” My task was to look for an American or foreign stakeholder to build and invest in the proposed cement plant.

Also, I felt confident about the viability of my idea about the Trench. We can seek the assistance of the Filipino-American Society of Architects and Engineers (FASAE). My good friend, Ted Aquino of Tarlac Province (and San Francisco, CA), was its former president. And more assistance from OFW engineers can be contacted by my other good friend and fellow OFW leader, Datu (Sheikh) Rudy ND Dianalan of Marawi City. Rudy and I targeted in the past a cement plant in Mindanao that needed retrofitting or even the entire replacement of its machinery, equipment, and technology. But we were made to understand that they sold it to another company.

“My idea is to make the Trench a vital depository of carbon wastes encased in modest-sized cement drums or concrete containers.”

And help from the Mindanao’s Muslim population, along with other Christian, Lumad, and other tribes such as the Manobos, for my idea of developing the Trench (aka Mindanao Trench or Mindanao Deep). We have to involve the Muslims and other ethnic groups in Mindanao in this CCUS proposal for the Trench. Many of them are treated like second-class citizens by the Filipino policy-and-decision makers, backed up by “The Imperial Manila” (TIM). This project is a chance to demonstrate that we need them in nation-building initiatives, even in the cement industry and the environment.

My idea is to make the Trench a vital depository of carbon wastes encased in modest-sized cement drums or concrete containers. But we need to involve the assistance of the U.S. Department of Energy, the School of Energy Resources of the University of Wyoming, the Carbon Removal Project of Microsoft, the World Resources Institute, and other participants in the said April 22 forum.

I will provide more details about the idea for the Trench by next week. Like also involving the country of Indonesia, as it shares with our homeland the Trench. It may interest readers to know that this idea was one reason I joined in the early 1990s the Indonesian Business Society (IBS) of Los Angeles, CA. Unfortunately, they disbanded the IBS. But I had maintained my rapport with some of its former officers after I left the IBS in 1992 when I retired from the Pan-American Van Lines, which I represented in the said trade group. But I never had the opportunity to present the Trench idea to the IBS and the Indonesian Consulate General because climate change was not one of the headline-making topics.

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