THE Aboitiz Group will establish a Pawikan Center, a rescue center and hatchery for marine turtles at the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park in Davao City.
The group's social development arm Aboitiz Foundation and AboitizPower business unit Davao Light and Power Company signed Thursday, January 10, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Davao City local government for the establishment of the Pawikan Center.
The center will have 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 specie 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. (PR)