MPIF Shores Up Tubbataha
Commits to Safeguarding the Philippine’s Crown Jewel
Shoring Up Tubbataha. MPIF, represented by its Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan (top center) and its President Melody M. Del Rosario (top left), signed the Memorandum of Agreement with the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board, represented by Palawan Provincial Governor Hon. Jose Ch. Alvarez (bottom right) and DENR MIMAROPA Region OIC, RED Lormelyn E. Claudio (bottom center). Witnesses to the event were MPIF Trustee and MPIC Chief Finance, Risk, and Sustainability Officer Chaye A. Cabal-Revilla (top right) and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Protected Area Superintendent Angelique Songco (bottom left).
Makati, Philippines, 11th March 2022 – Metro Pacific Investments Foundation Inc. (MPIF), the corporate social responsibility arm of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), solidified its commitment to shore up Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, the country’s largest marine protected area in a Memorandum of Understanding signing last March 11.
Represented by its Chairman Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan and its President Ms. Melody del Rosario, MPIF entered into a four-year agreement with the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board, represented by Provincial Governor of Palawan Hon. Jose Ch. Alvarez and DENR MIMAROPA Region OIC, RED Lormelyn E. Claudio, CESO IV.
“We believe that progress entails taking environmental wellbeing into utmost consideration,” says Pangilinan. “Aside from taking action to reduce our environmental impact, our business sustainability framework includes actively conserving natural resources and protecting global ecosystems. Our commitment to protect Tubbataha, not only safeguards a world-renowned heritage site but also signifies our active role as members of the global community in mitigating climate change.”
About Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
Inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a 97,030-hectare Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Palawan, located 150km southeast of Puerto Princesa City, at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity.
The park contains roughly 10,000 hectares of coral reef and houses 360 species of corals – about half of all the coral species in the world. It has also been recognized as one of the Philippines’ oldest ecosystems and is considered an integral habitat for internationally threatened and endangered marine species.
UNESCO cited Tubbataha’s outstanding universal value as an important and significant
natural habitat for in situ conservation – the conservation, maintenance, and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings – of biological diversity and an example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes.
However, with its expansive geography and sprawling abundance of marine treasures, Tubbataha also faces various threats that require specific interventions in order to maintain the quality of life it houses.
“Tubbataha is a living, breathing example of outstanding universal value in its key role in marine biodiversity. Our coastal coastal community engagements and environmental programs for the past 14 years will enhance Tubbataha’s continuous conservation efforts and raise public awareness on its economic, environmental and social impact,” says MPIF President Melody del Rosario.
Shoring Up Tubbataha
A primary challenge that the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) faces annually is the maintenance of financial and manpower requirements that are requisite to sustaining effective management within the area. Albeit receiving conservation fees from diver tourists, revenues are not sufficient to address the high expenses incurred by an offshore MPA like Tubbataha. Lockdowns brought about by the pandemic caused 96.5% of trips to be cancelled in 2020.
Being the spearheading advocate for marine and coastal biodiversity conservation within the MVP Group, MPIF has taken on the responsibility to contribute the needed financial support of P2M annually for the next four years.
“I express our gratitude for this partnership with MPIF. The commitment of MPIF to support the protection of the Philippines’ crown jewel, Tubbataha is a godsent in this time of uncertainty,” said Palawan Provincial Governor Hon. Jose Ch. Alvarez. “The support of MPIF In law enforcement will enable us to better provide for our marine park rangers, marine seaborne patrols, and other research activities that are crucial during this time of climate change.”
Beyond the financial donation however, MPIF has committed to integrate specialized interventions under its flagship environmental program Shore It Up! (SIU). Through SIU, MPIF will mobilize its Marine Protection, Inspection, and Conservation (MPIC) Guardians program in Tubbataha. Aligned with its existing implementation in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro and its pending execution in Marinduque, the MPIC Guardians program will serve a bigger purpose of creating a strategic brotherhood in the MIMAROPA region to protect the Verde Island Passage.
“We are really grateful to MPIC, specifically to Chairman Pangilinan. As he has said, this is a world class heritage site that we need to protect, not only for its beauty, but for food security as well,” said DENR MIMAROPA Region OIC, RED Lormelyn E. Claudio.
Shore It Up! Tubbataha also entails other initiatives such as crown-of-thorns starfish and marine debris clean-up, Junior Environmental Scouts (JES), and its traditional SIU Weekend. PLDT Home, its sister company, will also be instrumental in carrying out other supplementary efforts to support the interventions for the area.
The commitment to Tubbataha is aligned with MPIC’s efforts to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 14 Life Below Water, 15 Life on Land, and 17 Partnerships for the Goals.
MPIC is a leading infrastructure investment company with holdings in Manila Electric Company, Maynilad Water Services, Inc., MetroPac Water Investments Corporation, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc., Light Rail Manila Corporation and mWell PH.
The Company seeks to create long-term value for all its stakeholders through responsible and sustainable investments that contribute to national progress and improve the quality of life in the communities it serves.
MPIC and its group of companies are making a difference in the lives of millions of Filipinos, powering commerce and households, connecting people and places, delivering clean and safe water, and making world-class healthcare available to all.
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