VP Sara with schools, gov’t offices, NGOs release turtle hatchlings at Aboitiz Cleanergy Park
DAVAO Light and Power Co., Inc. (Davao Light), an Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) subsidiary, with the participation of Philippine Vice President (VP) and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, oversaw the release of 152 hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings on September 12 at Aboitiz Cleanergy Park in Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya, Davao City.
The released turtle hatchlings came from the third of five nests found this year at the park. In total, 7,933 hatchlings have been released from the area since 2014.
Besides the Office of the Vice President, the distribution utility was joined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Philippine Coast Guard, non-governmental organizations or NGOs, and schools and universities, who had their students do the releasing.
“Karamihan ng mga adult turtles na nakukuha natin sa dagat ay meron silang mga problema dahil nakakakain sila ng mga plastic. Kaya importante na maintindihan ng mga bata ang life cycle ng turtles at gaano kahirap sila mabuhay,” Duterte explained.
(Most adult turtles that we get from the seas have problems because they inadvertently consume plastic [waste]. That is why it is important to have children understand the life cycle of turtles and the difficult lives they have.)
While only a few will survive into adulthood, conservation efforts and proper waste management remain important to ensure that these endangered creatures can thrive in the oceans.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, sea turtles help maintain the health of seagrass beds and coral reefs. In particular, hawksbill sea turtles live on coral reefs and eat the overgrown sponges that suffocate slow-growing corals, resulting in a healthy reef. They also help prevent the overpopulation of jellyfish in the ocean.
"We are honored that VP Sara joined the event and showed her support to pawikan (turtle) conservation efforts,” said Davao Light Reputation Enhancement Department Head Fermin Edillon.
Edillon added that it was Duterte-Carpio, when she was still Mayor of Davao City, who signed a joint memorandum of agreement with DENR - Davao Region and Davao Light establishing Aboitiz Cleanergy Park as a pawikan rescue center in the Davao region.
Currently, there are seven rescued adult pawikans of varying species under the care of Aboitiz Cleanergy Park. These include five hawksbill sea turtles, as well as a green sea and an olive ridley turtle. They are provided with veterinary care and are being observed at the facility until they are fully recovered and can be released back into the wild.
The eight-hectare ecological preserve and biodiversity conservation site is managed by Davao Light and Aboitiz Foundation Inc. Since its launch in 2014, it serves as a protected nesting ground of the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle and a home to more than 100 species of endemic and migratory birds and other marine life.
Aboitiz Cleanergy Park also actively promotes decarbonization in an urban area, showcasing a mangrove reforestation site, nursery, and botanical garden for the propagation of multiple native tree species. PR