Mindanao biodiversity sites

Ongoing assessment for Mindanao biodiversity sites

DAVAO CITY – The Global Environment Facility (GEF) will start assessing the progress of its biodiversity conservation projects in 11 sites in Mindanao.

The activity is part of 6.3 million US dollar grant of the facility to reinforce implementation of the Natural Resources Management (NRM) component of the second phase Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP2).

MRDP program director Lealyn A. Ramos said Mindanao’s biodiversity hot spot will take center stage.

Ramos said GEF is an organization that plays key role in addressing global environmental priorities such as biodiversity, climate change, ozone depletion and pollution of international waters.

She said 11 sites in Mindanao have been found to house globally significant species such as dugong, marine turtles, manta rays, giant clams, sea cucumbers, whale sharks, diverse mangroves and shells, endangered fowls, forest trees and other flora and fauna from its mountains down to its seas.

The sites include the towns of Olutanga, Mabuhay and Tulusan in the province Zamboanga Sibugay; Rizal and Sibuitad in Zamboang del Norte; and Margosatubig and Vencinzo Sagun in Zamboanga del Sur; Marihatag and San Agustin, Surigao del Sur in Caraga region; and two more are in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the towns of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao and Lamitan City in Basilan.

“Being at the heart of the coral triangle, the Philippines, particularly Mindanao takes pride of its abundant and diverse natural resources but fears its eventual degradation due unfriendly human activities and other external factors,” Ramos said.

In February this year, President Arroyo, through presidential proclamation 2003, declared 2010 as the national Year of Biodiversity in support to the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity of the United Nations.

The proclamation recognizes the importance of biodiversity for human well-being and that, Philippines is among the mega diverse countries with immensely rich biodiversity but is facing threats of degradation. (PNA)

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