Below is Malampaya Foundation Inc.’s 2021 Chairman’s Report delivered during its Annual General Meeting on March 8, 2022:
MFI 2021 CHAIRMAN'S REPORT
As we reflect on what 2021 was, let me say that Malampaya Foundation Inc (MFI) had a notable number of triumphs as part of outcomes from hard work between partners and ourselves. We also experienced setbacks in view of natural phenomenon over which we had no control. Nonetheless, there are a handful of successes to be thankful for:
MARINE BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
Some 2,109 hectares were added to newly-legislated marine management zones in the Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve and in Brgy. Tacligan, San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro which brings our total marine coverage to 337,206 hectares throughout our program sites. Out of 39 marine protected area (MPA)focal sites, 24 have been consistently recording biological improvements for two to six years in a row, and 20/32 community partners managing the 39 MPA sites are demonstrating sustainability thus far.
In 2021, 21 accolades/recognitions from the local levels to the Asia-Pacific region were given to our conservation sites and program. Sites awarded are recognized as Best-Practice in community-based marine conservation, management and ecological regeneration at the grassroots levels.
For the String-of-Pearls project, we conducted in July 2021 a pilot release into the wild at Malampaya Sound national park (Taytay, Palawan) of the Tridacna squamosas we spawned under the watchful eye of our former colleague and trustee the late National Scientist Dr. Edgardo Gomez way back in 2018 at the Western Philippines University (WPU). This was followed by restocking of 1,702 individual juvenile giant clams Philippines’ true native Tridacna gigas, 9,400 juvenile abalones and 1,697 trochus shells. However, come December when typhoon Odette passed through Palawan, the WPU hatchery and marine station suffered heavy damages which caused nearly 100% mortality of the clam, abalone and trochus juveniles growing in the rearing tanks. This severely affects our restocking efforts for 2022 due to repairs needed at the hatchery and the need to spawn and produce juveniles anew.
For Coral Rehabilitation Research, we are happy to report that the test modules are showing well over70% survival rates. The results are promising enough to justify replication within the same blasted reef areas to further observe and determine the applicability of the method in a wider scale. MFI has been chosen as the Non-Government Organization (NGO) representative to the Scientific Advisory Group of the country’s Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 5, and as the alternate NGO Representative to the Management Board of FMA 12. This effectively broadens MFI’s reach beyond its focal sites with both FMAs having fisheries resource management influence by virtue of Fisheries Administrative Order 263 of 2019 on over 52.2M hectares of productive Philippine fishing grounds. MFI also sits as an active member of the Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape Protected Area Management Board, the Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve Management Council, and the Committee on Economically-Important Species of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. These memberships allow us to actively contribute technical inputs that influence policies, interventions and management strategies in the different important biodiverse marine regions of the Philippines.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMS
The Bridging Employment through Skills Training (BEST) program produced 698 graduates in 2021,bringing to 10,238 the total number of vocational scholars since 2007. The pace of local and international employment picked up in 2021 compared to 2020 which is a good sign of economic recovery, providing better opportunities for our scholars. Self-employment generation programs SIKAP and Project GANDA capacitated 366 and 251 respectively. From 2013-2021, SIKAP has trained a total of 6,413 trainees and 4,389 for Project GANDA.
Micro-enterprises under Enterprise for Conservation have generally shown some recovery from 2020negative earnings, some as high as more than 1,000%. While some are still in the red due to Covid restrictions, the opening of tourism will help those in the eco-tourism enterprises. By year-end 2021,there are 94 ongoing enterprise projects in all areas which have generated a combined gross income of over P3.4 million.
Over in Batangas City, the Punlang Katutubo Native Tree Nursery where we propagate and nurture important indigenous and/or endemic Philippine tree species that are either critically-endangered, endangered or threatened, produced more than 16,600 new seedlings comprising some 27 species. In two years of operation, the nursery now has capacity to produce more than 1,000 seedlings a month on average.
The Malampaya Clinical Laboratory operated by our partner Philippine Red Cross-Batangas Chapter logged a service count of 951 for the free doctor consultations and 824 for laboratory services, and continues to provide mobile extraction services.
Unfortunately we closed the year preparing again for a massive disaster relief operation in view of typhoon Odette which passed through central Palawan before Christmas 2021. About 61 tons or61,000 kilos of food were prepared over the holiday season and shipped via Philippine navy vessels from Sangley Point, Cavite. Earlier in July 2021, we also conducted a smaller relief operation through the provision of canned meats, rice plus jugs of water in the towns of Naujan and Baco when habagat rains caused massive flooding in several barangays.
That being said, we continue to make a difference in our own way environmentally and socioeconomically in Malampaya’s operating areas and beyond, a pledge we made way back in 2005 to help fulfill the joint venture’s commitment to sustainable development. May the Lord continue to protect and bless us in the coming years.