Ants Dominate in DENR CALABARZON's Photo Contest on Biodiversity

Ants Dominate in DENR CALABARZON's Photo Contest on Biodiversity

Strength in Numbers

"Experts say if we were to weigh all the ants in the world, they would weigh as much as all of the people, so if ants be gone there will be a big imbalance in our ecosystem," Gerson Kim Penetrante, 26, from Taguig City described his photo entry titled "Strength in Numbers", which won first place in the Photo Contest on Biodiversity organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON.

The photo contest and exhibit held on May 22-23, 2018 in SM City Calamba, Calamba, Laguna was the Department's creative way of observing and conveying to the public the very essence of this year's International Day for Biological Diversity (IDBD) themed "Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity".

The term "biological diversity" or "biodiversity" came from the words "bio" meaning life, and "diverse" meaning variety. Simply put, biodiversity is the variety of life on earth.

The IDBD, celebrated on May 22nd of every year, commemorates the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) during the United Nations' Rio Earth Summit on May 22, 1992. On June 12, 1992, the Philippine government ratified the Convention.

The CBD, which entered into force in December 1993, aims to 'conserve the biological diversity, use it sustainably, and equitably share the benefits from the use of genetic resources' in partnership with the civil society, private sectors, indigenous people, local communities, and other actors.

In an official statement released by CBD, its Executive Secretary, Dr. Cristiana Pasca Palmer lamented that "biodiversity continues to decline in every region of the world at alarming rates" despite the actions made by the Parties to the Convention. "It is therefore, imperative to do everything in our power to halt the destruction of nature," she said.

Relating the photo contest and exhibit to the CBD cause, DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said "it is very timely and important to document our unique biodiversity. We are all aware of the test confronting our natural resources. It is time we get our acts together". He also encouraged everyone to celebrate the 2018 IDBD "with a renewed commitment to continue our action beyond 25 years".

On the other hand, DENR CALABARZON Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services, Atty. Arnel P. Rodriguez stressed that the conservation of biodiversity is a responsibility not only of the DENR, but of everyone.

"Kailangang every citizen mag-invest. Kumbaga sa pag-iinvest, ang DENR ang main investor, but the rest, mag-iinvest din. Put your investment para at the end of the day ay mayroon tayong return of investment," Rodriguez said.

The Philippines is one of the 17 mega-diverse countries with 70 percent of the planet's biological resources. It is also home to various endemic and threatened species.

Being the subject of the winning photo, ants in the Philippines alone has over 500 species/subspecies, which play vital, varying roles in our country's ecosystems.

Out of the 60 photo entries submitted to the department, the top 10 were selected, exhibited and judged. Among these 10, the first, second and third places were decided by the judges from DENR Region 3 Public Affairs Office, Southern Luzon State University, and Philippine Information Agency CALABARZON.

The second and third places were awarded to the photos taken by Cherry Lou Zoleta titled "Survival of the fittest/Food Chain", and by Allan Rey Tato titled "Hope and Love", respectively.


DENR Calabarzon, on alert for Ompong


          Power outage and water disruption. These are the expected consequences of the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong, estimated to make a landfall on the northern portion of the Philippine islands in less than 24 hours.

          In preparation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) is calling for volunteers to help.

          DENR Calabarzon Assistant Director for Technical Services, Arturo E. Fadriquela said the plan is to prepare their field personnel for two packaged services. The first package is to provide chainsaws with skilled operators and porters, and the second one is to deliver fully-charged generator sets.

          Fadriquela, the designated captain for the relief and rescue operations, said they will be in close coordination with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) should their services be needed.

         “Kapag ang hiningi sa atin ay tumulong sa clearing ng area, ang gagawin lang pagpasok sa kalsada, may nakaharang (na puno) itabi, putol, itabi… Wala nang retrieval ‘yon, saka na ‘yon kasi mabilisan ‘yon e. Kailangan kasi ma-clear ‘yung daan para makapasok ang serbisyo, pagkain, tubig,” Fadriquela said.

          He also said they are looking into the possibility of providing go bags to the affected communities, and warm bodies to be of aid in other services. “Kung hindi naman apektado, maging available din ang mga tao natin kung saka-sakaling i-deploy sa mga repacking,” the assistant regional director said.

          “We would like to have an inventory of standby generators and water tanks that people can lend and we can mobilize in areas of greatest need so we are calling on people to let us know if they have one we can borrow” added DENR Calabarzon Director, Atty. Maria Paz G. Luna.

          With regard to the potential garbage accumulation, Luna said “we aim to have as close to a zero waste operation as possible because trash mounds in disaster areas turn into breeding places of pests and germs”.

          The relief and rescue operations are part of the Tayo ang Kalikasan program of the department.

          Willing volunteers may contact the DENR regional office through hotline numbers 09202068610 and 09553912684, email address This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or Facebook page @denr4aofficial.

          The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAG-ASA) has raised public storm warning signal no. 1 for the entire region.

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