SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is pushing for the construction of a nesting site for marine turtles and a coral garden nursery as the agency and other stakeholders signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) at the All Hands Beach Resort on Friday.
SBMA chairperson and Administrator Rolen Paulino said that the All Hands Beach Resort is now the recipient of the sea turtle nest preservation since many of these marine mammals lay their eggs at the beach of the resort.
He added that under the MoA, a coral garden nursery will be established at the waters of the beach resort that will increase the number of coral reefs in the waters of Subic Bay.
The two projects are in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Philippine National Police Regional Maritime Unit 3, Brighterday Subic Ltd. Inc., and the Sangkalikasan Producer Cooperative.
“The SBMA aims to balance the ecosystem with the tourism industry. We want to preserve the wildlife inside the Subic Bay Freeport while maintaining the area as the number one tourist destination in Central Luzon,” Paulino said.
Meantime, PENRO Zambales director Marife Castillo said that the MoA signing for the preservation of the sea turtle nesting site and the construction of the coral nursery garden is timely.
As part of the agreement, the agency will provide assistance in monitoring and managing marine turtle hatcheries and will solicit active participation of stakeholders in the project, rehabilitate degraded marine turtle habitats by enhancing recovery of mangroves and coral reefs, and installation of a wildlife enforcement officer.
According to Brighterday Subic Ltd. Inc. chairperson Mark Dayrit, the two projects will be done in their beach resort. Brighterday Subic is the owner of All Hands Beach Resort, and has been conducting pawikan preservation and sea turtle hatchling release since starting operation in 2012.
Under the MoA, the company will ensure the vigilant monitoring of pawikan sightings and coral augmentations. Dayrit added that the company will also provide logistical support to the SBMA Harbor Patrol in the conduct of maintenance and protection activities.
Meanwhile, Sangkalikasan Producer Cooperative is set to conduct baseline assessment and monthly monitoring of reef buds. The cooperative will spearhead the actual conduct of monitoring, maintenance and protection of the site of the coral nursery garden.