San Narciso, Zambales—It used to be that these delicate eggs hatched by gentle creatures from the sea ended up in fisherfolk’s household pots. They were a delicacy, and also a source of livelihood. Back in the 1990s, even earlier, marine turtle, or pawikan, eggs would sell for double the price of chicken eggs, making them a prize catch for poachers.
Today, alarmed by the drastically declining numbers of pawikans, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its private sector partners, have come up with laws, and complementary efforts to stop their capture.
Meralco PowerGen, through the initiative of its power development arm, Redondo Peninsula Energy (RP Energy), is one of these partners. The company has been strengthening its marine turtle, or pawikan conservation efforts over the past few years at the Pawicare hatchery, a sea turtle conservation site in San Narcoso, Zambales.
Earlier this month, RP Energy volunteers, together with the local government of San Narciso and the local fisherfolk dubbed the “La Paz rangers”, converged on the seaside facility, and released some 60 new hatchlings, and in the process, learned more about the local sustainability efforts for these fascinating sea creatures.
The PawiCare hatchery is currently managed by Katimpuyog Zambales, an environmental organization that has partnered with the San Narciso Local Government Unit (LGU) and the La Paz rangers.
The rescue and hatchery facility has a temporary shelter and other facilities for the rescue, rehabilitation, conservation, protection, and care of pawikans in Zambales.
It is considered necessary and crucial for the conservation of pawikans. The facility also takes care of wounded and rescued pawikans that will be released to the ocean when it has completely healed, and it is already healthy.
“Malasakit” and education
“We admire the malasakit of the Pawicare volunteers to help preserve our rich biodiversity,” said Litz Santana, vice president and head of external affairs at Meralco PowerGen.
“Every Filipino, especially kids, should experience a pawikan-releasing activity at least once in their lifetime,” added Jason Gavina, corporate social responsibility officer of RP Energy. “This is how we can effectively teach them the value of protecting our environment while at the same time, learning more about our rich biodiversity.”
Besides regular releases of new pawikan hatchlings, RP Energy has been promoting other efforts to save them, including a partnership las year with Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Philippines in a forum titled “Lessons from Pawicare”.
Protect the Bay is RP Energy’s program for the protection and conservation of Subic Bay. Its members include partners from the Subic Bay Management Authority (SBMA), Local Government Units (LGUs), as well as private sector organizations such as JCI Olongapo, Kabalikat Civicom, and the Rotary and Rotaract Clubs. The group organizes coastal clean-up activities, recycled art competitions, river clean-ups, information drives, environmental forums, and other related programs.
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