Press Releases

9 8 MHRWS PAMB signs Memorandum of Agreement with environmental partnersThe Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary Protected Area Management Board (MWRS-PAMB) has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Davao Oriental State University (DORSU) and Green Solution Agricultural Farming Training Center (GSAFTC) to further refine the conservation efforts for Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary.

Said MOAs were simultaneously signed on September 6, 2022 between MHRWS-PAMB represented by RED Bagani Fidel Evasco and the DORSU represented by President Dr. Roy G. Ponce while Manager James M. Olivar inked the agreement on behalf of GSAFTC.

MHRWS-PAMB endeavours to collaborate with local research institutions/organizations in the development of scientific, technical and institutional capacities to the protected area management and the local communities and to effectively communicate the basic understanding of conserving and protecting the mountains resources.

As a PAMB member, DORSU commits for the continued conservation of the protected area to preserve the integrity being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ASEAN Heritage Park through its research studies, including the effect or impacts of climate change on species and habitats, vulnerability and disaster risk reduction, evaluation of ecosystem services, spatial distribution of priority species, and biodiversity-friendly farming or agricultural practices.

DORSU will likewise assist in formulating the research agenda of MHRWS and consider the same in the preparation of research proposals.

On the other hand, the agreement with GSAFTC was designed in support to the promotion of Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices and Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Enterprise. It also covers the handling of capacity building of project stakeholders, partners, and trainees of the Center who shall be exposed to the programs of MHRWS.

Among the programs being implemented in MHRWS include the Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices (BDFAPs) and Biodiversity-Friendly Enterprise (BDFE) which aimed at promoting sustainable community-based livelihoods with minimal or no adverse negative impact to the ecological integrity of the protected area.

RED Evasco expressed his appreciation to DORSU and GSAFTC with the hope that such partnerships will help keep MHRWS’ diverse mountain ecosystem, exceptional degree of wilderness and outstanding universal value.

8 31 KinablanganVarious coral life forms can be seen underneath the vast seas of Kinablangan and Saoquigue both situated in Baganga, Davao Oriental. Both are, in fact, part of Baganga Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape which is one of Davao Region’s Protected Areas as well as of the Baganga Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve (BMSFR) which was declared as such under Presidential Proclamation No. 2152 in 1991.

As BMSFR is envisioned as a legislated protected area that will undergo a wider and substantially more effective environmental conservation approaches, the reserve was subjected to a Protected Area Sustainability Assessment. With this, the site’s habitat condition are regularly gauged along with constant diversity assessment of coral reef, seagrass beds, reef-fish community structure and mangrove forest.

Apropos to said conservation effort, a team of divers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-XI headed by Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco conducted a diving activity in Kinablangan and Saoqigue as part of the agency’s underwater assessment as well as ecotourism site discovery and dive exploration.

Observed during the assessment were various corals such as the branching forms of Acropora spp, Porites sp. and the massive eye and brain coral reef colony. In addition, a lizardfish and two tiger cowry were also observed. But one noteworthy discovery about the site is its several “cleaning stations” manifested by the banded shrimps and the blue-streaked cleaner wrasse, photos of which were captured by Director Evasco himself.

8 27 Philippine ASEAN Heritage ParkTo strengthen and promote management of ASEAN Heritage Parks in the Philippines, DENR-XI hosted the 6th Philippine ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP) Conference held last August 16-18, 2022, spearheaded by the agency’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB).

The conference was attended by AHP managers (Protected Area Superintendent or PASu and Parks Operation Superintendent or POSu) and Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) representatives to assess the role of AHPs/PAs in ecosystem protection and pandemic recovery through enhanced knowledge and skills on planning and implementing ecosystem management, restoration strategies and building resilience.

It specifically aims to, among others, improve the understanding and appreciation of the importance of AHPs in the conservation of biodiversity in the ASEAN, discuss and exchange experiences and practices on the management of AHPs, and prepare Philippine inputs to the 7th AHP Conference this coming October 2022 in Indonesia.

Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco in his message said that the conference perfectly aligns with the newly appointed DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga’s rigid support on strategies and initiatives for the country’s protected areas. It can be recalled that the secretary is a former Board Member of UNESCO.

The DENR XI’s intention for the designation of Mt. Apo Natural Park as UNESCO Global Geo-park was also discussed. Moreover, RED Evasco is optimistic to have an additional UNESCO Protected Areas in 5-10 years time.

The director also expressed the magnitude of challenge on the protection and conservation of the protected areas especially in Region XI particularly on the enforcement of environmental laws. He however recognizes the participation of the stakeholders within the PAs who have been supportive to the DENR’s efforts.

ASEAN Heritage Parks are “protected areas of high conservation importance, preserving in total a complete spectrum of representative ecosystems of the ASEAN region.” These areas are established to generate greater awareness, pride, appreciation, enjoyment and conservation of ASEAN’s rich natural heritage, through a regional network of representative protected areas, and to generate greater collaboration among AMS in preserving their shared natural heritage. (Source: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Among the nine (9) ASEAN Heritage Parks in the Philippines, 2 of them hails in Davao Region- the Mt. Apo Natural Park and Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. For the full list and details, please visit

8 19 Danny BeleteThere's truth when conservationists and scientists tag the Philippines particularly its mountains as home of endemism.

In fact, a new species of shrew-like mouse has been discovered in the mountains of Davao Oriental. The said rodent is distinct through its dark brown hair with soft, dense fur, small eyes and ears and a long, tapering nose like a shrew.

"That DNA study demonstrated that the new mouse was not related to the species up in the northern Philippines, but instead was related to species from Mindanao," says Dakota Rowsey, the study's first author, vertebrate collections manager at Arizona State University, and research associate at the Field Museum.

The Philippine-endemic rodent was named Baletemys kampalili, a combined Greek word “mys” which means mouse and “Balete,” in honor of the late Filipino field biologist Danilo S. Balete who is also known for his astounding contribution to Philippine mammal's taxonomy and conservation.

The pride of having rich biodiversity also comes with a responsibility to maintain its sustenance. And to keep our widlife species means keeping them and their habitat safe. If it's not for conservation purposes, let's refrain from hunting and disturbing them.

8 17 BIMP EAGAThe Philippine delegation, headed by DENR-XI’s Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel Evasco, alongside the Head of Technical secretariat Luningning M. Dalayon and its member, Arjay Dillera flew to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia in August 9, 2022 to attend the 10th BIMP-EAGA Environmental Cluster Meeting.

Significant environmental matters have been cunningly talked through. Anchoring on its previously-established strategic priorities, the body reviewed each country’s commitments and discussed updates on climate change adaptation and mitigation, promotion of clean and green technologies, sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems and promotion of public awareness and capacity building for relevant stakeholders on environmental sustainability.

The body also emerged into discussing initiatives with development partners and convergence initiatives with other clusters (Agribusiness Cluster; Transport Cluster, Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) Cluster, ICT Infrastructure Cluster, Power and Energy Infrastructure Cluster, Tourism Cluster, Socio-Cultural and Education Cluster) among others.

After three years, the Philippines, through RED Evasco turned over the chairmanship to Brunei Darussalam through its Head of Delegation- Hajah Martinah bte Haji Tamit.

RED Evasco as the outgoing chairman expressed his gratitude to the body stating that the concerted efforts of the members of Environment Cluster, and with the guidance of the BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Center and Asian Development Bank, the cluster managed to push through with its deliverables.

Per rotation basis, the Philippines shall host the 11th BIMP-EAGA Environment Cluster Meeting in July 2023.

The Republic of the Philippines is one of the members Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) which is a Sub-Regional Cooperation established in 1994. This cooperation/initiative aims to accelerate socio-economic development of the less developed and geographically remote areas in the member countries.