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.