MBCFI holds photo exhibit about rare species in Naujan Lake

POSTED: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

 In the observance of World Wetlands Day

     CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines – A  partners’ forum and photo exhibit, spearheaded by Mindoro Biodiveristy Conservation Foundation Inc. (MBCFI) in partnership with the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office and other groups from the private sector, was successfully held recently  in Calapan City   as part of the celebration of World Wetlands Day.

     In Oriental Mindoro, Naujan Lake National Park (NLNP) is a prime example of a wetland that attained a global stature when it was declared in 1999 as the 1008th wetlands of international importance by the Ramsar convention. The convention was named after a coastal city of Ramsar City in Iran near Caspian Sea when an international conference was held there on February 2, 1971.

      Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso V. Umali Jr., in his speech at the capitol square, said that the preservation of wetlands is equally important like that of protection  of forests, since it also provides many major services to the people such as environmental ecology, foods and livelihood.

      MBCFI Executive Director Grace C. Diamante said in her report during the forum that Naujan Lake  is one of the priority areas of MBCFI – an NGO which was established to ensure the conservation of Mindoro’s unique and threatened environment.

     Diamante stressed in her report during the forum that there are seven island endemic mammals and six species of birds that need the protection of all stakeholders in Mindoro particularly those living near the Lake and in such equally important sites such as Mt. Halcon, Bulalacao, Mt. Malasimbo in Puerto Galera and Mt. Hinunduang.

     Leo Capon, an environmental and natural resources officer and concurrent Asst. Park Superintendent said NLNP, the fifth largest lake in the Philippines, was officially declared as a national park on March 27, 1956 thru Presidential Proclamation No. 282.

    The Lake, which has a total area of about 21,655 hectares, has in its periphery 21 barangays bordering the towns of Naujan, Victoria, Socorro and Pola.

     The rare Philippine Serpent Eagle which the locals call as “Sirok”  and the Tarictic Hornbill were spotted in the said lake, according to Don Geoff Tabaranza, MBCFI Project Development and Resource Manager  who led the photosafari organized by MBCFI in partnership with Wild Birds Photographers of the Philippines last January.

      It is also the only area in the Philippines with reported presence of a critically endangered fresh water sawfish, which can only be found in Africa, Australia and other Southeast Asian nations.

     World Wetlands Day is being celebrated annually by environmentalists as well as by government and non-government organizations in their bid to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits.

     This year’s theme is “Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth” which places a focus on the need  for the wetland, water and agricultural sectors to work together for the best shared outcomes.

     Diamante thanked Gov. Umali, DENR Regional Director Oscar Dominguez, and Rey Sta. Ana of WBPP for their collaboration and active participation in the said environmental-awareness effort.

     MBCFI was established as an offshoot of an island-wide study of flora and fauna initiated by Malampaya Joint Venture Partners in close coordination with Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc., Flora and Fauna International and University of the Philippines-Los Banos.

     The Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project is a national government project under the Petroleum Service Contract 38 (SC 38), between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, and the SC 38 Consortium composed of Shell Philippines Exploration, B.V. (SPEX),Chevron Malampaya LLC and the Philippine National Oil Company – Exploration Corporation(PNOC-EC).

      The Malampaya Gas Project is developed and operated by SPEX—Shell’s upstream operating company in the Philippines—using expertise drawn from an extensive global experience in deepwater technology and oil and gas exploration and production. The Malampaya Gas Project pioneered the country’s natural gas technology which help energise a sustainable energy future for the Filipino people. Where the Philippines’ robust economy calls for a tall order of a balanced energy mix to fuel the country’s need for energy efficiency, natural gas plays a key role as it is known as the cleanest-burning fossil fuel with a globally abundant and diverse supply. Shell, a global leader in power, energy, and gas technology, is working to meet increasing energy demand and supply challenges by delivering smarter products and cleaner energy, smarter infrastructure, promoting smarter use and by developing new energy sources while addressing the impact on the environment, through advanced fuels and lubricants technology and unlocking sources of cleaner burning-natural gas.

     Since the Malampaya Gas Project began commercial operations in 2001, it has produced clean-burning natural gas which supplies three power plants in Batangas, with a combined capacity of 2,700 MW. Natural gas from Malampaya is currently used to provide up to 40 – 45 % of Luzon’s power needs.

     In order to maintain the level of gas production to meet existing contracts with its gas customers, the drilling of two additional infill wells (Malampaya Phase 2 Project and fabricationof a second gas platform to execute depletion-compression (Malampaya Phase 3 Project) are being implemented in accordance with the original Malampaya field development plan and  enhance Filipino capability to become at par with international oil and gas industry standards.( By Jerry J. Alcayde)

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