Tuesday, June 24, 2008

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KGMA 6/24/08

Man-made threats imperil marine biodiversity of Coral Triangle, says
RP official

WASHINGTON (via PLDT) – Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap warned here
Tuesday that the Coral Triangle, which holds more than 76 percent of
the world's marine biodiversity, is in great peril from man-made stresses.

Overfishing, the proliferation of non-biodegradable wastes in the seas
and oceans, and coral bleaching create a perilous impact on the Coral
Triangle's biodiversity, Yap said in his speech during the Coral
Triangle Initiative (CTI) stakeholders' luncheon held at the Willard
Hotel here.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who addressed the CTI forum ahead
of Yap, called on all people, "men and women from all walks of life
and organizations, public, private and governmental," to support the
CTI and the universal effort of making the "world a better place."

Yap said that to avoid the catastrophe that would ensue if the attack
on marine biodiversity remains unchecked, the world must act now to
protect and preserve the Coral Triangle.

He urged CTI partners and donors to work together in crafting win-win
solutions to ensure the protection and preservation of the marine
biodiversity in the Coral Triangle.

The Coral Triangle covers a vast expanse of ocean totaling 5.7 million
square kilometers of the sea in six countries: the Philippines,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

Quoting the Nature Conservancy report of 2002, Yap said that up to 64
percent of Southeast Asia's reefs were threatened by overfishing, with
66 percent of the reefs in the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan and 50
percent of the reefs in Indonesia were being impaired by destructive
fishing methods.

He added that 37 percent of Southeast Asia's reefs were at risk
because of pollution arising from coastal development and changes in
land use.

"Climate change worsens the situation as it accelerates the rate of
destruction. Coral loss in Asian waters could well reach 30 percent by
2030 as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC)," Yap said.

The spawning area of yellow fin, big eye, skipjack and the blue fin
tuna, the Coral Triangle is also home to 75 percent of all coral
species known to science, 75 percent of the world's mangrove species,
45 percent of the world's sea grass species, 58 percent of tropical
marine mulluscs, more than 3,000 species of fish, 22 species of marine
mammals, and six of seven species of marine turtles.

Fortunately, Yap pointed out, the grave threat to the world's
diversity has not been lost on people of the CIT countries. They are
bonding together to preserve the marine biodiversity of the Coral
Triangle through bilateral and trilateral collaborations that advance
the idea and cause of responsible growth.

Monday, June 23, 2008

[kgma] PGMA to push for sustainable management of Coral Triangle

WASHINGTON (via PLDT) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will make a
strong push this week for the sustainable management of the Coral
Triangle -- the epicenter of abundant marine life and diversity in the

A meeting has been scheduled at the Willard Hotel here to bring
together the private and business sectors in a multi-nation effort to
enhance and preserve the Coral Triangle that spans across Indonesia,
Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
This extraordinary area holds the richest concentration of iridescent
corals, fish, crustaceans, mollusks and marine plants in the world.

The President is expected to call for stronger cooperation among the
stakeholders to ensure the sustainable management and conservation of
the Coral Triangle.

She has pointed out the "policy of the state to protect, conserve the
sustainable use of biological diversity to ensure and secure the
well-being of present and future generations of Filipinos.."
The Coral Triangle covers 5.7 million kilometers of ocean and matches
the richness of the Amazon rainforest.

Home to 75 percent of all coral species known to science, among them
are yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, bigeye tuna, bumphead parrotfish,
needlefish, Napoleon wrasse, and barracuda; six of the seven species
of marine turtles including green, hawksbill, olive ridley,
leatherback, loggerhead and flatback;

Migrating populations of whale sharks measuring up to about 20 meters,
and massive manta rays, which are attracted to the region abundant
plankton; than 3,000 species of reef fish and commercially valuable

Marine mammals such as 22 species of dolphin (including spinner,
spotted, bottlenose, and the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin), the
endangered dugong or seacow, rare Bryde's whale, short-finned pilot
whale, sperm and dwarf sperm whale, humpback and Cuvier's beaked whale.

In the Philippines, coral reefs provide an annual income estimated at
$1.6 billion per year.

The Philippines Initiative calls for concerted action among countries
within the Coral Triangle to conserve marine biodiversity, stop
habitat destruction and effectively manage their marine resources.

In 2007, the Coral Triangle Initiative, a new multilateral partnership
to help safeguard the marine and coastal resources of the Coral
Triangle for future generations—was launched.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Mariculture Development Project in Tawi Tawi continue

Begin forwarded message:
From: "kgma_news"
Date: June 2, 2008 2:44:15 AM EDT
To: kgma@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [kgma] PGMA reiterates LGUs role in economic development
Reply-To: kgma@yahoogroups.com

MANILA (PNA) -- In her recent visit to the island province of
Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has
reiterated the important role of the local government units (LGUs) in
the development and improvement of their locality.

During the launching of the Tawi-tawi Modified Mariculture Development
Project in Sibutu town, the President said the project is in line in
developing the war-torn Mindanao as an agribusiness region -- the next
food basket of the Philippines.

"The way to peace begins with providing a person a job, food on the
table, and human dignity. Central to that success is to invest in the
people -- in education, health care, roads, and bridges," she said.

President Arroyo said the mariculture project is a best way to
increase the income of fisherfolk and improve their lives.

"Malaki ang inaasahang kikitain ng proyektong ito. Ang mga isdang
aalagaan dito ay matataas ang halaga sa bilihan. Kaya sa palaisdaan
lamang, kung makakabuo ng 500 kilos tuwing anihan, hindi malayong
umabot sa P100 million ang kikitain. Hindi pa kasama rito ang perlas
at agar-agar (seaweeds)," she said.

Aside from the mariculture project, the President also launched the
P324 million Tawi-Tawi Bridge-Road Partnership Project, which is
funded by GEM-USAID, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),
and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government.

She said the project is a long road in the province mainland, with a
bridge that would connect the five towns of Tawi-Tawi to Bongao.

"Investing in the vital infrastructure also includes building up our
environment as a reflection of our commitment to our quality of life,"
she said.

She urged local government officials in the province who would be
directly benefiting from the infrastructure project "to ensure that
construction will be done with the least damage to the ecosystems of
the project area."

President Arroyo also visited a Madarasa to inspect the desks and
chairs, which are part of the P1 billion national budget for school
furniture to ensure that all students are seated comfortably while
attending classes.

"Spending on physical and human infrastructure network remains central
to the ability of our nation to break the historic cycle of despair
and to prepare and to meet the challenges of the future," she said.

"We have and will continue to invest heavily in new spending," she added.

The President also announced the launching of the conditional cash
transfer program wherein some 3,000 poor families in the province will
receive monthly allowances.

However, to be able to receive monthly allowances, she said parents
should ensure that their children in the elementary would attend
classes everyday.

Aside from the conditional cash transfer, President Arroyo said these
indigent families could also avail of the "food-for-school" program of
the government to encourage them more to send their kids to school and
in turn, lessen the poverty incidence of Tawi-tawi which is recorded
at 78.9 percent.

Under the food-for-school program, elementary students in public
schools will receive a kilo of rice that they can bring home every
time they attend classes.

The President, however, noted that despite intervention from the
national government such as providing basic services to the people of
Tawi-tawi, which is considered the poorest province in the country,
many are still struggling to live.

In Sibutu town alone, which is about four hours from Bongao, majority
of the people there complained of the high price of the government
subsidy rice from the National Food Authority (NFA).

In talking with few store owners in the area, they said that in
Bongao, traders buy NFA rice at P18.25 a kilo, as there is no
"Bigasang Bayan" outlet in the area. But when the traders transported
the rice to Sibuto, which costs about P50, the price of government
subsidy rice was junked up to P25 per kilo.

The Sibutu residents prefer buying imported rice from Sabang,
Malaysia, which is an hour travel via speed boat, as it is cheaper
than buying NFA rice.

Another complaint of the Sibutu residents is the lack of potable
water, even the government's only hospital in the area has salty water.

Two years ago, the national government constructed a "Tubigan ni
Gloria" in Sibutu, which was placed at the back of the hospital. But,
this was never put in operation to the dismal of the residents.

The people said the Tubigan ni Gloria just served "as a reminder" that
there is still a government.

"We are aware that no matter how much improvement there is at the top
of the economic ladder, many of our people in Tawi-Tawi still
struggling mightily," she said.

She called on local officials that the key areas of focus of the
government are the three "E's" -- economy, environment and education.

"These are central to lifting Tawi-tawi up, central to success," the
President said. (PNA)

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