SMARTSeas Partners’ Forum Held

10-9 smartseas phTo provide a venue to exchange experiences, innovative ideas and community-based initiatives to enhance effectiveness of the marine protected areas (MPAs), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines and Global Environment Facility (GEF) are currently conducting a three-day SMARTSeas PH Project Partner’s Forum at the Ritz Hotel at Garden Oases, Davao City.

SMARTSeas PH Project is a five-year project that aims to strengthen the conservation, protection and management of key marine biodiversity areas in the Philippines. It also includes the establishment of biodiversity-friendly enterprise as sustainable livelihood to coastal communities.

Anchored on the theme “People and the Sea”, the forum which will run from October 9-11, 2018, is participated in by the MPA managers and practitioners from SMARTSeas project sites, partners from the local and national government agencies, civil society organizations, academic, research institutions, and private sector working on the protection and conservation of the coastal and marine environment.

10-9 smartseas ph 2In behalf of DENR-XI’s Regional Executive Director Ruth M. Tawantawan, Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Atty. Ma. Mercedes V. Dumagan welcomed the participants and guest with a message reminding everyone of the importance of MPAs as it greatly contribute to food security, sustainable livelihood and economic growth and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“Marine Protected Areas are established as a management strategy to conserve biodiversity and sustain fisheries. These areas are also considered as safe havens and food for migratory aquatic and bird species,” she said.

Dumagan also stressed that through the leadership of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, the Department aims to scale-up the country’s coastal marine ecosystem management program.

On the other hand, UNDP representative Grace Tena said that UNDP recognizes the efforts and contributions of various partners at the global level. “Given the extent of environmental problems that the country and the world are facing, we need to go beyond business as usual. We need to be bolder, more creative, more aggressive and more open to new and innovative ideas.”

10-9 smartseas ph 3Some of the topics that will be discussed during the forum are: Philippine commitments to Aichi and SDG 14; National MPA Network Policy Framework; good practices in coastal and marine management and fisheries; financial solutions for MPA and network; governance challenges and solutions; and tools in improving design of MPA and capacities of managers.

Also present during the forum are DENR-BMB Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez, DENR-13’s Regional Executive Director Atty. Felix S. Alicer, SMARTSeas PH Project Manager Dr. Vincent V. Hilomen and BFAR-11 Fisheries Production Support Services Division Officer-in-Charge Raul C. Millana.


Philippine Eagles fly to Singapore for Breeding Conservation

As part of the Philippine government’s bid to protect and conserve the critically-endangered Philippine Eagle, a pair named Geothermica and Sambisig has been flown to Singapore yesterday, June 4, in time for the celebration of the 21st Philippine Eagle Week (June 4-10).

Carrying Philippine passports, the said pair is the first of their species to be covered by a wildlife loan agreement for adoption by a foreign country. The passports are said to emphasize the Philippine identity of both eagles and that they remain the property of the Philippine government.

Geothermica is a 15-year-old male Philippine eagle born on January 7, 2004, while Sambisig is a 16-year-old female born on November 17, 2002. Both were hatched and reared at the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) in Davao City.

The pair will be housed in Jurong Bird Park for the next 10 years for captive breeding under a Wildlife Loan Agreement between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), one of the leading zoological institutions in the world.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said that these species are “ideal ambassadors of Philippine biodiversity, perfect for the purpose of generating awareness on the urgent need for conservation.”

“Sending Geothermica and Sambisig to Singapore acts as biosecurity measure to ensure the survival of the species and as a fallback population in the event of catastrophic events like disease outbreaks or extreme natural calamities taking place in their Philippine habitats,” he added.

On board flight PR 507, Philippine Airlines (PAL) airlifted the two eagles from Davao. DENR Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon, together with Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Meynardo Montealegre, PEF Chairman Edgar Chua and PEF Executive Director Dennis Salvador led the ceremonial “send-off” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

Calderon said that with the partnership with the Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Singapore government commemorating 50 years of diplomatic relationship, the wildlife loan agreement highlighted the importance of the Philippine eagle.

According to the DENR, there are only around 400 pairs of the Philippine eagle left in the wild. With the threat of extinction, sending off the Philippine eagle pair is considered an insurance that the species will not be wiped out in case of a deadly disease outbreak in the Philippines.


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