Tañon Strait: Prevent damage to biodiversity
(Letter to Energy Sercretary Angelo Reyes, Nov. 28, 2007).
Greetings from the Cebu Business Community.
We are writing this letter of concern on the impact of the oil exploration on the biodiversity of Tañon Strait.
It is scientifically proven that the Strait is one of the country’s biodiversity hotspots in terms of cetacean density and diversity, as well as coral reefs. The area is also a distinct habitat of the Chambered Nautilus, and a migration route of Whale Sharks, hence the proclamation of the area as a protected seascape under Proclamation 1234 signed by then President Fidel Ramos on May 1998.
While we at the Chamber believe that economics and biodiversity resource systems can be integrated in a comprehensive and sustainable manner, we feel that all stakeholders in this exploratory activity should address the need to balance the uitilization-driven policy involving modification of biodiversity for human needs, with the conservation-driven policy for maintaining natural biodiversity.
Biodiversity is important on global, ecologoical and human scales. Biological processes regulate global climate and cycling of essential elements and substances and as a result perpetuate a global system favorable to the support of life. Greater species diversity contributes stability to ecosystems, and conversely, a healthy functioning ecosystem supports greater diversity of life. From the human perspective, our societies need living resources, and greater biodiversity offers better variety of foods, building materials, and medicine amongst others.
Our country is one of the contracting parties in the Convention on Biological Diversity in Rio de Janeiro signed on June 1992, objectives which include the country’s responsibility to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. Further, the Philippines is a member of the International Union the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 1992. the UCN, a union of sovereign states, government agencies and NGOs, initiates and promotes scientifically based actions that will ensure perpetuation of the natural environment.
Given these international commitments, we would like to call on your good office to deal with the oil exploration activity in a precautionary manner that will prevent, or at least reduce, damage before we reach the stage of irreversible biodiversity loss. - Francis O. Monera, president, Cebu City Chamber of Commerce and Industry