5 26 CENRO Digos MatanaoThirty-one (31) years after the adoption of May 22 as International Day of Biodiversity, the Philippines, through its Department of Environment and Natural Resources has continued to advance the protection and conservation of biological resources in the country through the commemoration of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDBD).

This year, CENRO Digos City, spearheaded by CENRO Officer Ruel D. Colong, kickstarted the celebration through active support to Matanao’s Cave Festival Week on May 18-20, 2023, to which he delivered a message on behalf of the Regional Executive Director of DENR XI during the opening ceremony.

“It is a great joy for the DENR to be able to engage with local government units who are more than willing to take part not only in aiming for caves to be explored and be seen by the general public, but provide a chance for the general masses to be educated on the significant value and true wonders of nature housed within these natural sculptures of limestone and rock.” CENRO Colong highlighted.

The commencement activity was attended by the Matanao’s Local Chief Executive, Hon. Vincent F. Fernandez and his wife, Vice Mayor Irick Agbon and representatives from the Office of the District Representative and Office of the Provincial Governor of Davao del Sur.

For the same celebration, the office also conducted an on-site visit and tree planting activity at Sitio Talambato, Barangay Asbang, Municipality of Matanao, Davao del Sur. It was made possible through tying hands with the Municipal Government of Matanao, through its Tourism Office, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Members of the B’laan Farmers Association. The partnership aimed to rebuild back biodiversity through tree planting acivities, whilst maintaining and protecting the surface of Matanao’s Cave Resources, particularly within the policy-prescribed 500-meter radius of Sfot Bantong Cave.

The area likewise forms part of the Enhanced National Greening Program (E-NGP) for CY 2021 and is continually monitored by the DENR not only for the project itself but to ensure perpetual engagement of locals as partners in biodiversity conservation.

Aside from the Cave Resources of Matanao, the municipality is also a popular home of numerous waterfalls and several significant wildlife species.

The DENR strongly supports the rising destinations and fast-growing tourism of Matanao but also withstands the goal of preserving and conserving the municipality’s natural resources.

This year’s IDBD theme, “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity” was achieved as the various participants were able to accomplish planting of 500 assorted timber and indigenous species of trees, such as the Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) and Nato (Palaquim sp.).

Also present during the activity were the full manpower from the Conservation and Development Section (CDS) with its chief, Ms. Ma. Levenia Collantes along with some personnel from other sections of CENRO Digos. | via 𝑣𝑖𝑎 𝐶𝑦𝑙𝑙𝑒 𝑀𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑒 𝑆. 𝑁𝑎𝑑𝑜𝑛𝑧𝑎, 𝐶𝐸𝑁𝑅𝑂 𝐷𝑖𝑔𝑜𝑠 𝐶𝑖𝑡𝑦