Oplan Pamamalakaya: US, PH soldiers install artificial reefs in Batangas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019   •   345

Jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials

The Philippine and the United States military divers, along with local government units and non-government organizations installed artificial reefs in Batangas on August 15.

Oplan Pamamalakaya is a collaboration between by the Philippine Air Force, DV Boer Farm, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, and Municipality of Calatagan local government and residents.

The team were able to install a total of 30 jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials. 

“This project was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with our friends in the PAF and help preserve the Philippine environment for future generations,” said Major Zach Hart, a participating diver.—AAC

Palace: Duterte will not set aside arbitral ruling on joint oil exploration with China

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 12, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (L) and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping (R) pose for posterity prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on August 29, 2019.

The Malacañang insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte will not set aside the West Philippine Sea arbitral ruling for the joint oil exploration with China.

This was after former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert Del Rosario slammed the president’s statement.

“[Because the] exclusive economic zone is part of the arbitral ruling which we will ignore to come up with an economic activity,” President Duterte was quoted saying during the oath-taking of the Malacanang Press Corps on September 10.

Vice President Leni Robredo expressed dismay over what she referred to as ‘irresponsible’ statement of the chief executive.

However, the palace said President Duterte is not setting aside the decision of the Hague Arbitral Tribunal, as well as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the negotiation between the Philippines and China will remain.

“The setting aside doesn’t mean that we will abandon it. what the president means, as we have repeatedly said, and as he has said too, the arbitral ruling is still subject to talks between two countries, negotiation is ongoing peacefully, meanwhile we focus on other concerns may mutually benefit the two countries,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Tropical depression expected to enter PAR on Thursday

Marje Pelayo   •   September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Tropical Depression outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) has slightly intensified, according to the state weather service PAGASA.

As of PAGASA’s 4:00 AM bulletin, the trough of the tropical depression is now affecting Southern Luzon and Visayas.

On Thursday (September 12), cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rainshowers and thunderstorms will be experienced specifically in CALABARZON, Bicol Region, MIMAROPA, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Aurora, Quirino, Isabela, and Cagayan.

According to the latest data from PAGASA, the center of the tropical depression was observed at 1,495 km East of Visayas with maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 70 km/hour while moving east-northeastward at a speed of 15km/hour.

The weather system is forecast to enter PAR within 48 hrs and will be named “Marilyn”.

This weather disturbance is less likely to make landfall in the country.

Meanwhile, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country due to localized thunderstorms.

104 new whale sharks spotted in Donsol, highest in several years

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 6, 2019

A diver tags a whale shark off the coast Donsol as part of the local population count. 104 new whale shark individuals were identified in Donsol from January until June of 2019. (Photograph: Jurgen Freund / WWF Philippines)

There are 104 new whale sharks spotted on the coast of Donsol in Sorsogon between January and June 2019, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

This has been the highest number of whale sharks spotted compared to the period between 2017 and 2018, where only 22 new whale sharks were identified.

“Each whale shark can be identified based on the unique pattern of spots behind its gills, which serves as a “fingerprint” for identification. Just as no two human fingerprints are alike, no two whale sharks have the same spot pattern,” according to the WWF website.

The whale shark or Rhincodon typus is classified as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on their Red List of Threatened Species.

“The whale sharks were sighted during this year’s photo identification activities conducted by WWF-Philippines. In the first half of this year, 168 individuals – with 64 re-sightings alongside the 104 newly identified ones – were noted,” the WWF added.

WWF-Philippines Donsol Project Manager Manuel Narvadez, Jr. said the increase in the number of new whale sharks spotted in Donsol is because the water is now rich in plankton.

“These whale sharks that pass by Donsol aren’t just important due to their value to local tourism. More than that, they play an important, systemic role in providing resilience to the local ecosystem,” he said.—AAC

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