Lapu-Lapu on the Red List

by Henrylito D. Tacio The Philippines is home to at least 27 species of grouper, more popularly known as lapu-lapu. Unfortunately, six of these species are now considered as either “vulnerable” or “near-threatened,” according to a report which appeared in “Philippine Daily Inquirer” recently. According to Ronnel W. Domingo, author of the report, the 27 species were identified by Apolinario V. Yambot through “molecular inventory.” For the first time in the Philippines, DNA fingerprinting and barcoding was used in identifying the species. “Through the database that we came up with based on the study, we found that some species that fish growers thought were not available locally were, in fact, thriving in our waters,” Yambot, head of the Biotechnology and Analytical Laboratory Project of the Central Luzon State University, was quoted as saying. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species listed six of the identified species as “vulnerable” or “near-threatened.” It includes humpback grouper which thrives in the waters of Davao, Zamboanga, and Cebu. Domingo listed the following species to be also on the red list: black saddled coral grouper, orange-spotted grouper, black marbled grouper, Malabar grouper, and leopard coral grouper. It is now a common knowledge: Chinese restaurants are not complete without a bubbling tankful of grouper. Asia’s most demanded reef fish, grouper fetches up to P6.000 per piece in Hong Kong and Singapore. In the blockbuster movie, “Drunken Master,” steamed grouper was one of the many dishes Jackie Chan’s character requests during an attempted meal-theft. Most of the fish comes from the Philippines, as the country is considered the center of...

Transformative education and social engagement have great synergy

How we manage our natural resources on this planet, and do so in an inclusive way, is the challenge of present and coming generations.  A three-day conference on Transformative Land and Water Governance held in the Philippines in May sought to address this challenge. The conference discussed the importance of scientific methods and the critical challenge of addressing human and environmental needs, the questions of sustainability, vulnerability and risk.  This clearly engages the values and capacities of the youth today and their perception, which is diminishing with increasing youth unemployment. The learnings and experiences of different stakeholders to transform land and water governance were highlighted, emphasizing the need for values along with science in addressing the concerns in our environment. The conference, which was held from May 21 to 23, drew 100 participants.  It builds on previous conferences co-organized by the Jesuit institutions Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Cagayan-Xavier University, University of Namur, Gembloux Agro Tech and Environmental Science for Social Change talking through topics related to vulnerability to resilience, migration and soil fertility assessment. There was considerable Jesuit presence, with representatives from Environmental Science for Social Change, Manila Observatory, Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Cagayan-Xavier University, Loyola House of Studies, Arrupe International Residence (Philippines); University of Namur (Belgium); St Xavier’s College Kolkata (India); Jesuit Social Services (Australia); Jesuit Province Australia; Jesuit Social Services (Timor Leste); Jesuit Service (Cambodia); Jesuit Refugees Service (Indonesia); Social Apostolate-Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific; and  Jesuit European Social Service (Brussels, Belgium)). Andreas Carlgren, former Environment Minister of Sweden and now with the Newman Institute, the first Jesuit University in Sweden, was the...

Jesuit Asia Pacific Conference: Communities We Support

Indigenous Pulangiyen Community, Philippines The indigenous Pulangiyen community in Bendum, Mindanao, practices agroforestry and assists in the natural regeneration of forests along the Pantadon Range.  The youth in Bendum do their part by removing external pressures e.g. weeds and biotic interference, applying controlled disturbances to trigger germination of native species and preparing the germination site. With the support of Flights for Forests, the youth will be able to hold on-site workshops to share their assisted natural regeneration practices with youth in other Pulangiyen villages along the Upper Pulangi Watershed.  The community will also be able to establish tree nurseries. source: http://sjapc.net/what-we-do/ecology/flights-forests/communities-we-support#Philippines Share...

ADDU High School tops National Search for Eco-friendly Schools

The High School (HS) Unit of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) was proclaimed the winner of the National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools, High School Division, at an awarding event on 20 November at SM City North EDSA in Quezon City. A plaque and a cash prize of Php 50,000 were received by Fr. Michael I. Pineda SJ, HS principal. “Winning the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools is our contribution to the Church, the Society of Jesus, and the Ateneo de Davao University’s mission of a more vigorous environmental protection,” Pineda said. “It is also a sign of hope. The national award shows that we can instruct and form future leaders who will help heal and save the wounded creation,” Pineda added. The ADDU High School forms students to be men and women for others and for the environment through participation in treeplanting, mangrove reforestation, and coastal cleanups. In 2011, ADDU took its green initiatives to the next level by launching its greening program called Ecoteneo, beginning with Ecological Solid Waste Management. The high school students, in rotating assignments by classrooms, monitor the waste segregation bins to ensure that waste materials are placed in the proper bins and that liquids are removed from plastic bottles. With effective segregation and a shift away from plastics as food packaging, within a year residuals were reduced from 57 percent of its waste stream to 38 percent. In 2012, junkfood and softdrinks were banned from the campus for both health and environmental reasons. Also in 2012, Ateneo HS students shared the school’s segregation practice and donated segregation bins...

Ateneo Institute of Anthropology and TroPICS Research Brief: Mining and Water Governance

Executive Summary The multi-billion Tampakan Copper-Gold Mining project will take a serious toll on water and forest resources, especially in the provinces of South Cotabato and Davao del Sur in Mindanao. To protect these resources, the South Cotabato provincial government banned the use of open pit mining as provided in its 2010 Environment Code. In 2012, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) denied the project proponent’s application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), citing the ban. In February 2013, the DENR, however, approved the ECC subject to stringent conditions that the Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) has to comply. This research brief reviews the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes and results for Tampakan mining project. It incorporates key findings from a stakeholders’ analysis and conflict and advocacy review. It concludes with a set of insights and recommendations relevant to mining and water governance. The full document can be downloaded via this link. Share...