The year 2023 was another year of many triumphs and trials, if you recall, in the first quarter of the year alone, a tanker oil spill affected a number of our south Oriental Mindoro conservation sites. Nonetheless, with the collective efforts of partners and other parties, the worst is over and we continue our support partner communities to this day in helping overcome this tragedy.


Last year, two(2) of our Oriental Mindoro sites once again landed among the Best Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Philippines at the national Para El Mar Awards. The Ranzo Fish Sanctuary in Pinamalayan, our partner since 2013 and previously 3rd place in 2019, was awarded 2nd place in 2023. This, despite Ranzo being beside Pola bay where the massive oil spill transpired last March. The Maasin Fish Sanctuary in Bulalacao, our partner since 2015, landed 6th. It is worth mentioning that being short-listed among the Top 10 at the Para El Mar is already an achievement with the Philippines having more than 1,300 MPAs as of the last count.

Moreover, at the local level, five(5) of our sites in Coron and Linapacan in north Palawan continue to be recipients of being among the Best MPAs in the Calamianes region at USAID’s 2023 RACE Awards. In Coron: the Bulalacao MPA and Marcilla MPA. In Linapacan: San Miguel MPA, Pical MPA and Decabaitot MPA. Award titles received ranged from Best-Managed, Best IP-Managed and Best-Initiative MPAs.


The addition of 3,395 hectares of new and expanded MPAs in El Nido launched in 2023 brings our total program coverage to 337,494.73 hectares in all, including fisheries and marine management zones in NIPAS and MAB sites, under 36 active conservation agreements. From 2013 to 2023, the community reef monitoring teams in Verde Island Passage recorded a 68.89% increase in the abundance of target reef- associated fishes and a 44.25% increase in live coral cover across all permanent monitoring stations. Our partners planted over 9,000 trees comprised of mangroves, beach forests, and other native tree species as part of our continuing support to help rehabilitate watersheds, mangroves, and beach forests. To reach the next generation, some 1,289 youths were educated at our environment youth camps and school-based IECs.


MFI’s continuing support to partner community People’s Organizations members and volunteer community enforcers (bantay dagats) account for a significant proportion of investment especially on capacity-building, incentives, and mentoring to ensure that they reach their ultimate goals and potential in preserving their MPAs, fishing grounds, and other sources of income.


The String of Pearls Project last year produced 178 million Tridacna gigas giant clam larvae from a single in- situ spawning activity, as well as 1.5 million larvae from a single topshell breeder. We released a total of 4,250 abalone juveniles in various strict protection management zones in Taytay and Bulalacao, Palawan. The project established 2 new giant clam ocean nurseries in El Nido and Coron as part of restocking expansion plans. The Coral Rehabilitation Research monitoring continue to show promising results with survival rates of up to 50% across all blasted reef sites in El Nido, Linapacan and Coron.


MFI remains an active member of national-level fisheries conservation efforts in the country’s most productive fishing grounds as the Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 5 Scientific Advisory Groups (SAG) representative for NGOs, and FMA 12 Management Board alternate representative for NGOs, covering an area of about 52.2M hectares and advanced efforts through different management schemes. MFI also remains an active member of the Puerto Galera UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve Management Council, and the only NGO member of the Protected Area Management Board of the Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape (MSPLS).


It is quite fulfilling to witness many of our former technical-vocational scholars monitored in Bridging Employment through Skills Training (BEST) program achieve progression in their careers after a few years of working locally, are able to attain multiple increases in income, some more than 10 times, after starting with incomes twice the poverty threshold in the country. Likewise a significant number have demonstrated making wise personal long-term investments for their families. Sanayan sa Ikauunlad ng Kaalamang Pangkabuhayan (SIKAP) and Galing at Negosyo Dulotay Asenso (GANDA) continue to spur self-employment and entrepreneurial activities at the community level, providing supplemental incomes on a regular basis to those who apply what they learned with the high-quality tools we provided. In 2023 we had 882 finishers under BEST bringing our total BEST graduates from 2007-2023 to 12,107. For SIKAP and GANDA programs, a combined 585 were trained last year.


The 107 various ongoing nano and micro-enterprise projects under Enterprise for Conservation program continue to be linked to conservation as both incentive and source of funds. In2023, approximately P365,000 conservation funds were collectively generated which was set aside from a portion of their net profits. Apart from this, some P12m in incomes and honoraria from revenues have directly benefited the members and bantay dagats since 2014. The enterprises are now run by 36 of our conservation partner people’s organizations with a current total of 1,498active members.


The Punlang Katutubo Native Tree Nursery continues to be very productive with 13,062 new native seedlings in 2023 and 9,412 released for out-planting. The Malampaya Clinical Laboratory operated by our partner Philippine Red Cross-Batangas Chapter logged a service count of 1,405for the free doctor consultations, 654 for laboratory services. Under the resurrected Malampaya Sustainable Development Scholarship program, five (5) engineering and eight (8) natural sciences and natural resource management students graduated from Batangas State University and Palawan State University. The Charity Program for indigents at the Palawan Adventist Hospital benefitted 53 patients. Major progress was made for the new Tanglaw sa Komunidad program with partnerships forged and groundwork in the advanced stage by year- end.


With Malampaya gaining a new lease in life, we will continue to support the business and work in partnerships with our communities in the years to come and achieve new milestones. May God continue to protect and guide us!


Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Malampaya Foundation Inc.