In a much welcomed move by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), specially to us Filipino marine biologists, is its recent approval of “$3.8 million worth of support for the development of insurance for the restoration, conservation and management of coral reefs in the Philippines and three other countries in ‘Southeast Asia and the Pacific.”
ADB was quoted saying that “the project involves the development of climate risk financing and insurance solutions to protect coral reefs in the Philippines, Indonesia, Fiji and Solomon Islands.”
The ADB’s initiative is likely part of the Asia Pacific Climate Finance Fund (ACLIFF), the latter is extending $2.5 million for the project, while the Global Environment Facility through the Challenge Program for the Adaptation Innovation is financing $1.3 million.
This is a boost to finance efforts to protect the coral reefs considered as first line of defense to seawater surge, tsunami and similar natural behavior instigated by climate change, too. The destructions on coral reefs are both natural- and man-made, e.g. dynamite fishing, muro ami fishing method, use of poison/toxic substances in drawing out fish from coral habitats, boat anchors dropped in docking areas, etc.
Having been a frequent diver, I have witnessed how the coral populations in Boracay Island and Puerto Galera (Batangas and Manila Channels) have been broken, destroyed with steel anchors. Unreported is the status of the coral stands in Sogod Bay Southern Leyte. Hope that the Southern Leyte State University handful of marine biology researchers sustain the study of the undocumented coral population in Sogod Bay and its adjoining marine waters.
The Late and fellow marine biologist and a good friend Dr. Edgardo Gomez (a coral expert), left a legacy by “re-growing/ rehabilitating the coral population” in the Hundred Islands, Pangasinan – an area that I had done diving collection and ecological study of the marine macroalgae/ seaweeds. Hope that the younger generation of coral students maintained and sustained Dr. Ed’s noble project.
There are only few practicing Filipino coral researchers who should be in involved in projects to preserve, conserve and maintain the country’s coral reefs. Also, as member of the Coral Reef Triangle, the Philippines need to play a bigger role in the protection of the corals in Southeast Asian waters.
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