The year 2018 saw continuing growth in our programs’ impact, with several triumphs achieved, big and small.
Marine Biodiversity Conservation
We started to witness and observe major breakthroughs in our marine biodiversity conservation program with the return of endangered species like the Napoleon Wrasse, Sea Cow (Dugong) and marine turtles in marine protected area (MPA) conservation sites such as Coron in Palawan and municipalities of Bulalacao, Gloria, Pinamalayan, Pola and San Teodoro in Oriental Mindoro. These are indications that direct site interventions being implemented at the grassroots level, such as proper MPA management and enforcement of fishery laws, are effective.
A major result of our partnership with the Oriental Mindoro provincial government for the 304,215-hectare fisheries management area seasonal closure continues to bear fruit with observed increases in fish population and diversity immediately after the closure period. Huge schools of juveniles that swarm coasts and reef areas as reported by coastal communities is evidence of this.
During the same year we brought to its final stages of legislation two (2) keystone policies that will help sustain conservation efforts in Verde Island Passage. The provincial level policy institutionalizing the Oriental Mindoro Marine Protected Areas and Fishery Law Enforcement Network, and the Batangas City Ordinance on Environmental Users Fee for Isla Verde secures the future of conservation efforts in these areas. Moreover, together with the local government of Puerto Galera, the Provincial Agriculture Office of Oriental Mindoro, and the Protected Area Office of El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, Malampaya Foundation (MFI) likewise helped facilitate the most extensive marine management zoning since the establishment of these two globally-recognized segments of UNESCO’s biosphere reserves.
At the end of the Fiscal Year of 2018, MFI already surpassed by nearly 10-folds its conservation area target of 35,000 hectares by 2020.
Successful community enterprises continue to contribute profits for conservation and balik-tangkilik (return service to community). Moreover, the enterprises are diversifying, expanding and spinning-off ventures on their own. We have re-branded these projects as “Enterprise for Conservation” since they are making a contribution to environment management and protection. With guidance and support from the foundation, business practices of the enterprises are continuously being enhanced and we continue to work with our partner community organizations to improve their respective financial management and reporting.
In helping generate employment and self-employment, we had a record 1,514 vocational scholar graduates under Bridging Employment through Skills Training (BEST) program in 2018, dominated by trainings in scaffolding due to the high demand for the skill. Our community-based skills trainings for Sanayan sa Ikauunlad ng Kaalamang Pangkabuhayan (SIKAP) and Galing at Negosyo Dulot ay Asenso (GANDA) yielded 1,698 trainees from more than 50 barangays.
We continue to capacitate communities in disaster response, including bantay dagats and park rangers in coastal communities under Shoreline communities Onwards to Resiliency (SHORE) program. At the same time, as part of environmental youth camps, lectures on first aid, safety and basic life support are integrated in the curriculum to teach youths early about saving lives.
Four schools in Palawan were equipped with Tanglaw Paaralan packages as incentive to conservation-partner communities’ schools, enhancing the learning experience of public-school students as well as teaching methods of its teachers. Likewise, community water systems were upgraded in Linapacan and El Nido to provide better quality water to residents of our conservation partners.
The Malampaya Clinical Laboratory free doctor services has been seeing steady increase in patronage (service count) from surrounding communities, complemented by diagnostic services of the laboratory. On education, 14 of our university scholars graduated in 2018 and are now armed with degrees in marine science, engineering and geology.
In 2019, we will continue to strengthen the backbone of select programs to ensure sustainability beyond our presence. As the social arm of the Malampaya Joint Venture, we remain steadfast in our commitment to partners to deliver the best within our capacity in the years to come.