Aboitiz, DENR, LGU re­new joint com­mit­ment for Pawikan con­ser­va­tion

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Billboard -

The Aboitiz Group, through its so­cial de­vel­op­ment arm Aboitiz Foun­da­tion and AboitizPower busi­ness unit Davao Light and Power Com­pany, re­newed its com­mit­ment to in­ten­sify con­ser­va­tion ef­forts for the ma­rine tur­tle or pawikan par­tic­u­larly the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered hawks­bill tur­tle in Davao City.

Aboitiz signed a Me­moran­dum of Agree­ment (MOA) on Jan­uary 10, 2019 with the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) and Davao City lo­cal gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish a Pawikan Cen­ter — a res­cue and hatch­ery fa­cil­ity at the Aboitiz Clean­ergy Park.

The cen­ter has a tem­po­rary shel­ter, clinic, lab­o­ra­tory, ob­ser­va­tion deck, board­walks, and other fa­cil­i­ties for the res­cue, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, con­ser­va­tion, pro­tec­tion and care of ma­rine tur­tles in Punta Du­malag. This sup­ports the multi-sec­toral ef­fort of “pur­su­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment within the con­text of a bal­anced ecol­ogy.”

“Davao is truly blessed to be a nest­ing site of ma­rine tur­tles, which is a key­stone species in main­tain­ing the bal­ance in our ecosys­tem. It is clear that the gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor must work to­gether to pro­tect these en­dan­gered an­i­mals be­fore it be­comes too late,” said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Car­pio.

“We com­mend the Aboitiz Group, Davao Light and Power Co., and the Aboitiz Clean­ergy Park,” she added, not­ing that over over 3,000 pawikan hatch­lings that have been re­leased from clean­ergy park.

With the sign­ing, the Davao City gov­ern­ment re­it­er­ates its com­mit­ment to the pro­tec­tion of var­i­ous pawikan species. “We look for­ward to the cre­ation of the Pawikan Res­cue Cen­ter in Punta Du­malag, which will aim to pro­tect the plant and an­i­mal life thriv­ing in the ma­rine eco-park,” Duterte-Car­pio said.

“Thank you to Aboitiz. DENR is very blessed to have you. Truly, DENR Sec. Roy Ci­mato will be grate­ful,” said Ruth Tawantawan, DENR As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for Eastern Min­danao.

As part of this project, Aboitiz will also con­tinue to plant en­demic trees to main­tain bio­di­ver­sity in the area.

“To­day, after more than 13,000 man­grove seedlings planted and more than 3,000 hatch­lings re­leased, we re­new our com­mit­ment,” said AboitizPower Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent and Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer for Distri­bu­tion Group Jim Aboitiz who led the con­glom­er­ate’s del­e­ga­tion to the MOA sign­ing.

“All over the coun­try, the Aboitiz Group’s re­sponse to the DENR’s lead in en­vi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion demon­strates our sus­tain­abil­ity mind­set. Through the projects we im­ple­ment to­gether, we en­sure that we head full speed to­wards our prom­ise of ad­vanc­ing busi­ness and com­mu­ni­ties,” he added.

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 a crit­i­cal habi­tat for the ma­rine tur­tles, pro­vide man­power sup­port for the project, and fur­nish DENR with mon­i­tor­ing re­ports.

In 2007,Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­glung­sod of Davao City de­clared the shore­line ex­tend­ing 300 me­ters sea­ward in Punta Du­malag as a Ma­rine Pro­tected Area. In 2015, Aboitiz in­au­gu­rated the Aboitiz Clean­ergy Park to serve as an ex­am­ple of an ur­ban-based habi­tat con­ser­va­tion ini­tia­tive in the area.

Through the Aboitiz Foun­da­tion, the Aboitiz Group car­ries out var­i­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives in part­ner­ship with the gov­ern­ment. These in­clude the A-Park, its largest na­tional re­for­esta­tion ini­tia­tive that sup­ports DENR’s Na­tional Green­ing Pro­gram; Race to Re­duce Pro­gram, which pro­motes re­source ef­fi­ciency; and the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Bo­ra­cay Wet­land No. 4 as part of the is­land’s en­vi­ron­men­tal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

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