The members of the community of the coastal town of Unisan, Quezon have joined hands, together with the Municipal Agriculture Office and one (1) resort owner, to create a local movement for marine turtle conservation. Led by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Tayabas City, the community has been equipped with initial steps towards protecting marine turtles that visit and lay on their shores.

As CENRO Tayabas recognizes the importance of local communities in conservation efforts, one of the key initiatives included in this activity was an orientation on marine turtle conservation that was conducted in the last week of March 2023 in Brgy. Ilayang Kalilayan, Unisan, Quezon.

Dr. Rizza Araceli F. Salinas, Veterinarian II from the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB)-Wildlife Resources Division, and a marine turtle expert, discussed Marine Turtle Biology which includes the basic principles of marine life conservation, including the history, life cycle as well as the behavior of marine turtles and their importance in the ecosystems.

Salinas also shared the proper handling of marine turtles, the necessary general equipment and supplies, data and information gathering, types of encounters, and the proper release of hatchlings and matured marine turtles.

Forester Raymund F. Mercurio, Development Management Officer III, Chief of Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section and In-charge at the Regional Wildlife Rescue Center of DENR CALABARZON Region, discussed the concepts of the Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001. He briefly explained the various categories and conservation status, and corresponding fines and punishments to the weight of illegal activities committed, which are all stipulated under this law.

Among the other attendees were some personnel from CENRO Tayabas and the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Quezon Province.

In a message given by CENR Officer Cyril A. Coliflores during the event, he stressed that aligning with these, additional hands-on training for the stakeholders, most importantly for the coastal communities, has to be undertaken in the future.

CENRO Tayabas looks forward that with this initiative, the community will also be able to create awareness to educate residents and visitors about the importance of marine turtle conservation within their area and instill a sense of responsibility among them.