LOS BAÑOS, Laguna — Amid the backdrop of environmental urgencies, the BARMM Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE), through the Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Research, and Development Services (BERDS), reaffirmed its commitment to preserving biodiversity by taking part in the discussion of the application of Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary (TIWS) to ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs) on January 19 at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).

The Turtle Islands welcome thousands of sea turtle nesters. In 2012, recorded nesters reached over 21,000, the highest since 1988 when monitoring started. To keep the record ascending significantly, through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which remains persistent in achieving a more sustainable community through its flagship programs such as the AHPs, the Turtle Islands will continue to receive protection, allowing every magnificent creature to thrive for generations to come.

Meanwhile, Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Minda Bairulla presented the papers, discussed the progress, and addressed issues that require more attention.

Moreover, a meeting was held at ACB, Los Baños, on September 04, 2023, where BERDS, ACB, and the Coastal and Marine Management Division (CMD) of the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau met to a shared agreement to conduct another presentation before the final submission of their application. The exact date and time of the final submission of documents and presentation are yet to be verified, followed by site validation in the 2nd quarter of Fiscal Year 2024. The validation process is essential as it will provide an opportunity to assess the project’s feasibility and determine whether it meets the necessary guidelines.

Additionally, present at the event were Joeffry Kamid, the Chief of the Protected Area Management Division; Annie Dumamba, the Chief of the Ecosystems Research and Development Division; Bairaiya Salipada, the Focal Person for the Protected Area Section; and PASu Minda Bairulla.

AHPs are selected protected areas in the ASEAN region that are known for their unique biodiversity and ecosystems, wilderness and outstanding values in scenic, cultural, educational, research, recreational and tourism.