Saving coral reefs

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT –  The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will work hand in hand with investor-locators and non-government organizations to ensure the growth and propagation of coral reefs that are already degenerating all over the country.

SBMA Chairman Martin B. Diño recently signed a partnership agreement with the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARD), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Brighterday Subic LTD, Inc. (BLSI), which operates the All Hands Beach Resort in the free port; and Sangkalikasan Producers Cooperative, a non-government organization engaged in reefs restoration and monitoring activities.

The partnership was forged to strengthen current coral reef restoration efforts by the BLSI and Sankalikasan at the All Hands Beach Resort here.

“For as long as the SBMA, the community leaders, and the business owners around the zone are responsive and responsible enough in preserving our coral reef beds, the condition and future of our ecosystem is sustainable” Diño said following the signing of the agreement.

Dr. Melvin Carlos, Technology Transfer Division Director of PCAARRD, said the degeneration rate of coral reefs across the country has already reached 80 percent.

“This means that it has breached its ecological condition that is dangerous to plants, animals, and other organisms living in our waters,” Carlos said.

The agreement commits the partner organizations to transplant some 5,000 coral fragments to restore damaged reef areas and set up and deploy about 10 coral nursery units.

It also tasks them to identify, document, and establish dive sites, develop a pool of personnel for coral restoration, and promote science-based coral reef management.

Under the agreement, the DENR serves as the lead implementing agency to provide necessary technical assistance in monitoring and evaluating the project, while Sangkalikasan, which is based in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, serves as project implementer that will deliver project outputs, results reviews, information dissemination, and technology transfer.

On the other hand, the SBMA and PCAARRD are support bodies in monitoring, maintaining, and protecting the identified and established sites, as well as in baseline assessment and monitoring of coral transplants, while the BLSI is the adaptor in maintaining and protecting the identified and established sites for the growth and propagation of the coral transplants.

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