Aboitiz to establish Pawikan Center in Davao City

Aboitiz Group of Companies will soon establish a pawikan rescue center and hatchery for marine turtles at the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park in Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya, Davao City.

Through a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the Aboitiz Group’s social development arm Aboitiz Foundation and AboitizPower business unit Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) and the City Government of Davao, the establishment of the Pawikan Center aims to provide temporary shelter to marine sea turtles where they can be rehabilitated, conserved and protected.

Signatories to the MOA are: Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio; Aboitiz’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jaine Jose Aboitiz; and DENR’s OIC, Assistant Secretary for Eastern Mindanao in concurrent capacity as Regional Executive Director Ruth M. Tawantawan.

“Aside from the many nests and eggs that have been discovered and protected, the Park has also served as a venue to inform and educate more visitors about the importance of safeguarding the pawikan and its natural habitat,” Aboitiz said.

With the signing of the MOA, Mayor Duterte said that the city government reiterates its commitment to the protection of the various species of Pawikan found in Davao City.

“And so we commend the Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated and the Davao Light and Power Company for your pawikan conservation efforts at the Cleanergy Park that has released 3,482 turtle hatchlings to date since the start of the operation. We also thank the DENR for the technical expertise and guidance you provided to ensure that the conservation efforts being undertaken are appropriate and will lead to the best possible results,” Duterte-Carpio said.

Moreover, Tawantawan stressed that the 8-hectare Punta Dumalag is a very special area as it is home to pawikan and also to 89 bird species and 7 kinds of mangrove vegetation.

“This very area is so rich and unique that it became also a habitat of other important flora and fauna. That is why DENR is very blessed to be working with the Aboitiz, with Mayor Sara and other officials who sincerely care for the environment. Surely, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu will be very pleased and grateful,” she added.

Tawantawan also said that pawikan particularly Hawksbill are critically endangered. “If we check on the reproductive cycle of turtles, their survival is very nil. Only 1 percent. And it takes so long for them to mature. That’s 20 to 50 years. That means, if they are not protected, the probability of extinction is very high,” she said.

Apart from protecting the nesting areas at the park, the Pawikan Center aims to identify, document, and address threats to marine turtles and their habitats in Punta Dumalag; promote research, monitoring and information exchange; enhance public awareness on the conservation initiatives in the area; and fortify the collaboration between the public and private sectors for the long-term recovery of pawikan population in the area.

The DENR will provide technical assistance, facilitate information and education campaign on marine turtle conservation, and establish Punta Dumalag as critical habitat for marine turtles, among others.

Meanwhile, the Davao LGU, through local ordinance, will strengthen the enforcement of existing laws relevant to the conservation efforts, assist the DENR in the establishment of Punta Dumalag as critical habitat for the marine turtles, provide manpower support for the project, and furnish DENR with monitoring reports. #TayoAngKalikasan

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Hands-On-ARMS outreach activity held

To raise awareness and highlight the importance of coastal and marine resources to the local communities, especially to the youth, Department of Environment and Natural Resources -XI through its Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section (CRFMS) and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Compostela Valley recently conducted the Hands-On-ARMS outreach activity at Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape (MPLS), Compostela Valley.

This interactive activity was participated by selected Grade 6 students from Don William Gemperle Elementary School in Mabini. The participants were given an opportunity to learn and observe the marine cryptobiota using a simple hand lens or magnifying glass and forceps. They also sorted and classified these small animals into their respective groups.

Despite their small size, marine cryptobiota provides various ecological good and services and serves as primary building blocks of the coral reef. Marine cryptobiota includes shrimps, crabs, hermit crabs, brittle stars, sponges, and tunicates, among others.

As part of DENR's Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP), the Department monitors cryptobiota with the use of Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS), a long-term collecting device that mimics the coral reef and attract these animals. The data will be collected to study on their biodiversity and the effects of climate change on reefs.

 

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