Biodiversity Conservation Program CY 2012

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u Designation and Management of Critical Habitat

As a result of the assessment and identification of sites conducted in CY 2011, four (4) sites were recommended for critical habitat establishment this year. These are 1. Pinagbayanan Critical Habitat in Brgy. Catmon, San Juan, Batangas, 2. Philippine Teak Critical Habitat in Lobo, Batangas, 3. Dagatan Lake, Tayabas, Quezon and 4. Unisan Critical Habitat, Unisan, Quezon.

This year’s activities include public consultation and area declaration. One of the public consultations conducted in Batangas province confirmed that the area assessed for the establishment of critical habitat in Brgy. Pinagbayanan, San Juan, Batangas is not actually within the said barangay rather under the jurisdiction of Brgy. Catmon, San Juan, Batangas. Consequently, the Barangay signified their support in the establishment of Catmon Critical Habitat thru an approved Barangay Resolution.

On the other hand, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) recommended that the proposed Philippine Teak Critical Habitat be limited to public land/domain, thereby setting aside residential areas or private lands, unless with prior consent of land owner(s) instead of covering the fourteen (14) barangays of Lobo, Batangas. With this, Brgy. Sawang which has the highest individual population of Philippine Teak based on the assessment conducted was recommended. Public Consultation in the said barangay gained support from the barangay residents and other concerned stakeholdersfor the establishment of Philippine Teak Critical Habitat in Brgy. Sawang, Lobo, Batangas.

Public consultation for Unisan Critical Habitat resulted to Resolution no. 63 S. 2012 which supports the declaration of Coastal Barangaysof Iling. Kalilayan, Punta, Malvar and Maputat as Critical Habitat of Marine Turtles and other wildlife.

 

u Cave Management, Protection and Conservation Program

• Assessment/Reassessment of Identified Caves

Cave assessment was conducted in the provinces of Laguna, Quezon and Rizal. The first cave assessed by the Regional Cave Assessment Team (RCAT) is known as the 1. Underground Cathedral Cave located in Cavinti, Laguna. The cave is noted for its affluent stalactites and stalagmites. Dwelling in the said cave are different species of fruit and insect bats, swiflets, spiders, crickets, crabs, shrimps, millipedes, centipedes, whip scorpions, etc. It is also where the tributaries of Lalangawan River settle before draining to the said major river resulting water overflow in the cave. Moreover, the team also noted the decayed/rotting logs inside the cave which were assumed to be debris of previous logging activities in the area.

2. Mabahong Butas Cave, the other cave assessed by the RCAT with the assistance of the concerned personnel of CENRO Catanauan alongside with the Officers and staff of Mulanay’s Municipal Tourism Office, is located at Mount Camhantic within the Buenavista Protected Landscape (BPL) in the vicinity of geographic coordinates 13 o 31’30.6” North Latitude and 122 o 26’12.4” East Longitude at an elevation of 379 meters above sea level (masl). The cave is typically a dry cave. Its mouth/entrance is almost completely vertical, appearing to be a “sink hole” surrounded by some trees, shrubs and coconut. Aside from the large colony of fruit and insect bats, swiftlets also inhabit the cave. The nests of these birds are reportedly being collected by some locals (in the past) for trade due to its high commercial value for the so called bird’s nest soup or nido soup. An L-shaped open pit measuring 2.7 m x 2.5 x 1 m deep was observed at survey station No. 7 approximately 26 meters from the entrance. An evidence of activities attributable to guano extraction or even treasure hunting, which are both prohibited acts in caves.

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3. Tinipak Cave on the other hand, located in Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal/ Pagsangahan, Gen. Nakar, Quezon is a wet cave having an underground stream draining towards Polilio Strait via Kaliwa River.

 

• Operationalization of Regional Cave Committee (RCC)

A joint meeting of the Regional Cave Committee (RCC) and the Regional Cave Assessment Team (RCAT) attended by members from the DOT, National Museum, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (formerly Nat’l. Historical Institute), Mines & Geo-sciences Bureau Region IV-A and DENR Region IV-A and concerned personnel from the DENR Field Offices was conducted on May 22, 2012 to set the schedule of detailed cave assessments to be undertaken for the year.

In consideration to the request of the DENR Field Offices and the concerned Local Government Units, it was agreed by the RCAT as concurred by the RCC to assess six (6) caves in the following municipalities, starting in the first week of June such as:

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The cave assessment commenced on June 5, 2012 in the vicinities of Sitio Lalangawan, Brgy. Paowin, Cavinti, Laguna. After, Cavinti, Laguna, the RCAT moved to Mulanay, Quezon and assessed 6 caves therein. Although the target was only 1 cave, the LGU had requested to maximize the presence of the Team. The 9th cave that was assessed on November 13, 2012 was the Tinipak Cave in a nearby area of Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal. The RCAT had finished the last one to marked their 10 th cave assessed for the year, which is the Makabag Cave in Brgy. Lumampong Balagbag, Indang, Cavite on November 14, 2012.

On November 29, 2012, the concerned PAWD personnel had presented the results of the assessment to the barangay officials of Paowin, members of the Sanggunian Bayan and other officials of the LGU of Cavinti, Laguna. This also served as an initial consultation for the preparation of management plan for each cave. The stakeholders were disappointed upon learning from the report that the two caves they requested for assessment are both situated outside their political jurisdiction. This was disclosed by the RCAT upon the projection of the coordinates obtained by global positioning system (GPS) from the cave sites to the barangay boundary and Index map of Paowin and appropriate Land Classification map covering the site.

The 2nd RCC meeting was held on December 12, 2012at the ORED Conference Room for the presentation of all the results of the detailed assessment. The RCC concurred with the suggestion of the RCAT as to the recommended classification of each cave assessed, as follows:

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