The Visayan Sea: Wealth of the World

October 31, 2006


By Alain Russ Dimzon
The News Today, Oct. 30, 2006

Central Visayans should have more of that desired awareness to value and conserve their marine environmental heritage and wealth.

A study “The Center of the Center of Marine Shore Fish Biodiversity: the Philippine Islands” by Dr. Kent Edward Carpenter of Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia and Dr. Victor Springer of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC shows that the central Philippines and that includes the Visayan Sea, popularly knows as the “Alaska of the Philippines.”

Dr. Carpenter was palpably more concerned over the degradation of the Philippines marine habitats, the most diverse in terms of density. The Philippines, especially Central Philippines, has more species of fish per unit area than anywhere in the world. He compared the richness of Philippine marine life to the terrestrial Amazon River Basin. But he noted a common prevalent situation between the two: biodiversity loss.

After the Eco-Forum environmental program on Central Philippine University (CPU) Channel 8 aired over Sky Cable Network, with the hosts Ms. Lucy de la Fuente, Engr. Aurora Lim, and Mr. Jenier Militar, I found a meeting of causes.

Mommy de la Fuente was a key actor in the operationalization of the NGO Health Aid to the Needy for Development (HAND), which was funded by the German Brot Fur Die Welt (Bread for the World) and the Australian Baptist World Aid Relief Committee (ABWARC). HAND was holistic as it addressed the sectoral concerns of a current standard NGO such as health, education, environment an the other basic services necessary for a simple, decent and sustainable life and living.

Tita Au has been very active in the campaign for renewable energy. She has been a prime mover against the establishment of a coal-powered plant that will dispose by-products into the Visayan Sea, the “Alaska of the Philippines.”

I can only imagine how immeasurable the vigor of these two women, mothers and grandmothers if they would have been in their youth.

Also there during the show were Victor Prodigo (Touch), Fulbright fellow for International Sustainable Development, Joseph William Albaña (Joseph), foremost cultural and environmental worker, Jose Gerardo Deza (Gerard), encyclopedic and unheralded writer par excellence. I found a small group working on a huge concern.

Gerard’s plan to have Dr. Carpenter come over and help in the conservation efforts after the MT Solar 1 sinking that caused an oil spill off Southern Guimaras came before President Arroyo picked up that Philippine Daily Inquirer headline story on Kent (Dr. Carpenter) and her consequent order to DENR Undersecretary Trono organize a marine habitat summit in November this year.

Touch was consultant of Guimaras when the province won the “Galing Pook Award sa Kapiligiran.” He was also consultant of the Banate Bay Development Council, also a winner in another environmental contest.

Joseph is an institution of an advocate for a pro-Filipino culture, arts and heritage and that includes ecological heritage. An organizer of reputation, and an icon of the theater Arts Guild of the University of the Philippines Iloilo (TAGUPCI), he is a theater arts teacher, oration, declamation, and extemporaneous speaking tutor and trainer.

The following day, the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension sponsored a public forum at the UP Iloilo City campus.

After these actions, I expect a unified and organized results-oriented intervention to conserve a wealth of the world most proximate to us Central Visayans: the Visayan Sea.


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