Monthly Archives: April 2012

HK repatriates 18 rare turtles from Palawan

HK repatriates 18 rare turtles from Palawan

HK repatriates 18 rare turtles from Palawan.

IT TOOK them a while to return to the Philippines, but the 18 rare turtles taken by a Chinese student from the wilds of Palawan several months ago are back and under protective custody, a wildlife conservation group said Friday.

Environment officials fetched the turtles from Hong Kong following the repatriation proceedings there, said Juan Miguel Zubiri, President of the Katala Foundation.

“They’re back, but I’m dismayed that our authorities were not able to prevent these animals from leaving the country,” Zubiri told reporters.

The 18 forest turtles, which are found only in Palawan, are considered to be nearly extinct. The Chinese consider them novelty pets or exotic food.

The turtles were among the various animals taken from the Philippines and intercepted in  Hong Kong’s airport on Feb. 8. The illegal shipment included 24 lizards, 16 pythons, a flying snake, two mangrove snakes and a common mock viper.

Zubiri, a former senator, said he will seek an investigation into how the turtles were able to leave the country.

“Our airports and seaports are the last line of defense in our fight against illegal wildlife trade. I call on the authorities to investigate,” he said.

Officials said the turtles will be nurtured and then released to the wilds in Palawan.


(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/April/28)


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30,000 mangrove propagules to be planted in Oriental Mindoro town

30,000 mangrove propagules to be planted in Oriental Mindoro town.


MANILA, Philippines—Some 30,000 mangrove propagules will be planted in Oriental Mindoro as part of a rehabilitation project in Baco town, a conservation group said Friday.

Implementing agency Conservation International (CI)-Philippines said that the project, launched on Thursday in coordination with 37-year-old Consular Corps of the Philippines (CCP), was part of the province’s climate change adaptation efforts and was the initial salvo to take mangrove rehabilitation efforts further.

It was launched alongside Strategic Intervention and Community-focused Action towards Development (SICAD) for a holistic and integrated approach to getting rid of poverty in the coastal communities by making them development partners.

According to CI-Philippines, the Bantay Dagat group of Baco will monitor and take care of the site to ensure high survival rate while the municipality will be establishing new marine protected areas as part of its climate change adaptation and coastal resources management efforts.

Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali, who was present during the launch, said the province was determined to conduct this “honest-to-goodness coastal resource management development program, dispensing with the idea that this is only for publicity.”

The initial batch of Rhizophora mangrove propagules were planted in Pulantubig village (previously known as Mayagao) in Baco town—a part of the Verde Island Passage, a globally-important marine biodiversity area and one of CI-Philippines’s priority project sites.

The said variety was chosen as it was the most appropriate to the conditions in the project site, a sand bar and river delta formation, and will most likely thrive in the area. The project site acts as a natural barrier to the community against strong waves.

But the area has become more vulnerable after suffering losses in mangroves and Romeo Trono, CI-Philippines country executive director, saw the rehabilitation project as one of the “most cost-effective ways of enhancing a community’s capacity to adapt to climate change impacts.”

“Mangrove belts protect communities from storm damages and help stabilize coastlines.”

CI-Philippines said that propagating a mix of true mangrove and associated species that will improve the stability of coastal ecosystems in the area and give the community with protection from climatic factors and other natural events.

While it improves coastal protection in the area, the project is also expected to “provide additional benefits to fisherfok engaged in aquasilvi projects or crab culture,” said Marilyn Alcañices, head of the Fishery and Coastal Resources Management Division of Oriental Mindoro’s Provincial Agriculture Office (PAgO).

According to her, the project will help “increase aquasilvi project sites and increase the population of crablets and  other marine finfish like milkfish, grouper that need mangrove areas as their nursery and feeding  grounds.”

The Bantay Dagat group of Baco will take on the task of monitoring and taking care of the planting site to ensure a high survival rate. As part of its climate change adaptation and coastal resources management efforts, the town is also in the process of establishing new marine protected areas.


Filed under Biodiversity, Disaster Management, GHG Mitigation Effort, Pollution Control, Sustainability

Metro Manila now an ‘urban heat island’

Metro Manila now an ‘urban heat island’.

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Backyard Plants

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Alagaw (Premna odorata) tree in front of our house.  In the entire neighborhood, our compound is the only place where you can find multiple tree species.

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April 15, 2012 · 12:32 pm

A Thing for Bananas

A Thing for Bananas

Have you ever wondered where your banana came from? The Philippines is one of the major producers of bananas in the world. A banana will always be a banana, but there is Cavendish, saba, latundan, lakatan and my favorite senorita.

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April 12, 2012 · 1:15 pm

Consumers must live with rising fuel, power costs—Enrile

Consumers must live with rising fuel, power costs—Enrile.

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Filipino consumers will just have to live with rising fuel and electricity prices, according to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

“Juan de la Cruz and no one else” should be paying more for their electric consumption and petroleum purchases, Enrile said in an interview with dzBB radio on Sunday.

“There’s nothing you can do about it. Who will pay (for higher power rates), the Lord? We should experience hardships to learn,” the senator said.

Enrile lashed out at those peddling “theories” and warning of an impending revolt, taking unnamed critics to task for spreading “speculations” and “blabbering, engaging in debates and finger-pointing.”

“We should face the problem head-on, shunning useless talk. We should do our job… All of us should sacrifice for the country, and not just think of ourselves,” he said.

Malacañang should not be blamed for its inability to forestall the power crisis in Mindanao, the senator said.

“It is too late to blame anyone in and outside of government for the rotating brown-outs in Mindanao,” he said.

He even branded as “foolishness” the bills now pending in Congress seeking to grant emergency powers to President Benigno Aquino III, or reducing the value-added tax on fuel.

“We don’t need that—that’s foolishness. They talk of emergency powers, what can the President do (with them)? He has too many powers. He’s the Chief Executive of the country. He can borrow money, negotiate contracts, he can deal with other countries to solve (the power problems),” said Enrile.

Enrile believes the Philippines erred in refusing to tap nuclear power as an alternative source of electricity.

“We don’t want nuclear power, we are afraid to die (from nuclear accidents). We thought we will live forever—that’s not the case. Other countries are prospering because they took a chance at using nuclear power, we (aren’t) because we have (this)  backward thinking,” he said.

“We have to take a chance in life. We can’t be 100 percent safe. There’s always a margin of risk in life,” he said.

The first Aquino administration in 1986 mothballed the Marcos-era Bataan Nuclear Power Plant over safety concerns and because the contract for it was attended by corruption. But the government did not provide for alternative power sources to replace what the BNPP would have produced, which was a direct cause of the dreadful Luzon power crisis in the 1990s.

To remedy the situation in Mindanao, Enrile said he supported the government decision to deploy mobile power barges while the Agus and Napindan dams, the main sources of hydroelectric power in the island, are being fixed.

“(We should) find other sources of hydropower in Mindanao and if necessary put up coal-fired power plants,” he said.

“We’ll have to do it. There’s no other way unless we use our trees for fuel,” he said.

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Filed under Climate Change, Disaster Management, GHG Mitigation Effort, Sustainability