The provincial government of Bataan and the power firm GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co. (GNPD) have tied up to protect and preserve the “pawikan” or sea turtles in the province which is home to three out of five identified species in the country.
A three-year agreement worth PHP4.3 million was signed Tuesday at The Bunker, Balanga City for the adoption of the local pawikan hatchery at Sitio Fuerte, Barangay Poblacion, Morong, Bataan.
“Pumirma po tayo sa isang memorandum of agreement (MOA) sa pagitan ng pamahalaang panlalawigan ng Bataan, municipality of Morong, GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co at SAGIP Pawikan Sitio Fuerte Association para sa pangangalaga ng mga pawikan. Sa pamamagitan nito, mabibigyan ng kaukulang pondo, tamang pangangalaga, at maseseguro na may dadatnan na pawikan ang susunod na henerasyon ng mga Bataeño (We signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the provincial government of Bataan, municipality of Morong, GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co. and SAGIP Pawikan Sitio Fuerte Association for the protection of the pawikan. Through this, there will be appropriate funds, proper way of taking care and the assurance that there are still pawikans for the Bataeños’ next generation),” said Governor Jose Enrique Garcia III in a statement on Wednesday.
He also underscored the importance of conservation projects to protect the pawikans which became endangered in the past due to poaching and smuggling.
The governor said that through the cooperation and support of the various sectors, marine turtles such as the olive ridley, hawksbill, and green turtles help boost the local economy as it has now become a tourist attraction in the province.
“Patunay lamang po ito na sa pagtutulung-tulong ng lahat ng sektor, marami tayong magagawa para sa komunidad at kalikasan (This only proves that through the cooperation of all sectors, we can do more for the communities and the nature),” Garcia said as he thanked the GNPD to make the project possible.
For his part, Arcel Madrid, GNPD assistant vice president for community relations, said in a statement that “now more than ever, we need to strengthen our commitment to protecting the magnificent pawikans to ensure their longevity.”
“As the largest coal-fired power plant in the Philippines, we are also eager to participate in environmental programs like this hatchery adoption, so we can not only prevent the extinction of pawikans, but also teach the community about their importance,” Madrid added.
Dennis Jordan, president and chief executive officer of GNPD, lauded the Sitio Fuerte Sagip Pawikan Association and the provincial government of Bataan for their efforts to preserve the sea turtles.
“It’s both an honor and a marvel to be on the frontlines of a company that is passionate, committed, and proactive in maintaining and protecting the hatchery areas of our pawikans,” Jordan said. (PNA)