Tubbataha reefs in Palawan to be launched as ‘ASEAN Heritage Park’

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Nov. 3 (PNA) — The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park (TRNMP), a marine protected area in the Philippines located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, will be launched as an ASEAN Heritage Park (AHP) on Nov. 5.

Karen Lapitan, the development communications consultant of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, said in an invitation letter to the media that Tubbataha will be launched as a heritage park after its nomination was approved by the 12th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Environment in Oct. 2014.

She said the world-famous marine park shall be the seventh AHP in the Philippines.

The other AHPs are Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve (Laguna), Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (Davao Oriental), Mt. Iglit-Baco National Park (Mindoro), Mt. Apo Natural Park (Davao), Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park (Bukidnon), and Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park (Misamis Occidental).

The AHP Programme is a flagship initiative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The programme is a network of ASEAN’s best protected areas with high biodiversity and conservation values.

On Dec. 18, 2003, the ASEAN Ministers of Environment signed the ASEAN Declaration of Heritage Parks “in an effort to conserve areas of particular biodiversity important or exceptional uniqueness throughout the ASEAN member states.” (PNA)