By Joanne Namnama G. Parrocha, PIA 1, La Union
SAN FERNANDO CITY, Jan. 6 (PIA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources continues to implement marine turtle conservation through its Pawikan conservation project.
The department created the Task Force Pawikan to preserve the diminishing population of green turtles.
Josephine Ople, information officer, said stakeholders are tapped to realize the agency’s vision to rehabilitate and conserve natural resources including the marine turtles.
“We give credit (to stakeholders) by granting a certificate of recognition citing their invaluable contribution to the marine turtle conservation program,” said Ople.
Recently, the DENR recognized fisher folks from Barangay Poro here namely, Jeff Rilloraza, Jed Paul Tongawan, Sonny Onia, Armenio Rulloda and Julie Tongowan for their efforts in Pawikan conservation.
In line with the project, some 45 green turtles were released last December 27 in the same fishing village.
“The city government is very active in promoting environmental awareness in line with the city’s vision of becoming the greenest and cleanest city in the North in the year 2020,” said Ople.
Every year, the DENR rescues marine turtles in the towns of Rosario, San Juan, Lingsat, Agoo and along shorelines of Poro village.
Incidents of pawikans being trapped and rescued anywhere in the region are directly reported to the DENR.
Once pawikans are safe, releasing is immediately done. However, a certain protocol is observed when marine turtles are injured.
“Injured turtles are brought to the DENR to be examined and treated by a veterinary before they are released,” said Ople.
Further, if the pawikan’s size is 40 centimeters and above, metal tags bearing the “PH” letters and a four-digit serial number are placed on the turtle’s flippers.
“Once they are trapped again anywhere in the country or even outside, rescuers will easily know that they turtles are from the Philippines,” Ople said.
The conservation project is the government’s response to the dwindling marine turtle population in the country pursuant to Executive Order No. 542 signed on June 26, 1979.#