Monday, June 29, 2009

Tawi-Tawi Province To Pass Environment Code; Boost Coral Triangle Preservation

The Coral Triangle.
TAWI-TAWI, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 29, 2009) - The provincial government of Tawi-Tawi has supported the creation of the Environment Code to promote principles of ecologically sustainable development and protection of the environment, especially the marine ecosystem.

Tawi-Tawi, which is in the southernmost part of the Philippines, is the center of the Coral Triangle also known as the apex of global marine diversity. The Environment Code is to take effect this month.

The provincial government also held a series of consultations with different municipalities, simultaneous with the launching of the Natural Resources Management Program in the towns of Bongao, Panglima Sugala, Sibutu and Sitangkai.

Several agencies and sectors like the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the media, participated in a three-day workshop on environment law.

Provincial Vice-Governor Ruby Sahali-Tan with an invitation from the US State Department, attended the International Observation Study Tour on Environment, from June 1 to 26. She is the sole representative of the Philippines in the event participated by Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.

Being the center of the coral triangle, coral reefs in Tawi-Tawi plays two crucial functions to the larger ecology - as a spawning ground and nursery of diverse marine species and as corridor for migratory marine mammals, fish stocks and turtles.

The Coral Triangle is a geographical term referring to the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste with an abundance of coral reef.

It is the most diverse marine environment in the world - listed by WWF as the top priority for marine conservation and the focus of its WWF Coral Triangle Program launched in 2007.

The Coral Triangle has been identified as covering more than 5.4 million square kilometers, with over 600 reef-building coral species which encompasses 75 percent of all species known in the world.

More than 3,000 species of fish live in the Coral Triangle, including the largest fish - the whale shark, and the living fossil coelacanths. (Amilbahar Mawallil and Dayang Babylyn Kano Omar)

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