Merry Christmas, Green Supporters!

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Merry Christmas from WWF-Philippines!


Funding and Finding Ways for the Environment

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BDO Phase 2 MOA Signing by Gregg YanFundraising for the Environment The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) and Banco de Oro Unibank (BDO) today committed to extend its award-winning fundraising partnership: Finding and Funding Ways for the Environment recently won 1st place at the 5th KYRA Fundraising Awards and empowers BDO ATM cardholders to voluntarily donate PHP5 to WWF after each ATM transaction. Donations support WWF’s climate change, food security and environmental conservation programmes across the country. From left to right are WWF Marketing Vice-president Reggie Olalia, BDO First Vice-president Expedito Garcia Jr., WWF Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, BDO Senior Vice-president Emmanuel Narciso and BDO Vice-president Juvencio Pereche Jr. Says WWF Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, “This is fundraising for the environment – the first ATM micro-giving programme in the hundred-country WWF network. Together with BDO, we shall find ways and build futures.” WWF invites BDO cardholders to continue supporting its initiatives when using ATMs.

Panda Prowling Palawan Waters

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Press Release:

Since 2008, a Panda has been prowling the high seas of Palawan.

Painted panda black-and-white, M/Y Navorca provides a wide range of services for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) conservation initiatives in the Sulu Sea, particularly in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and nearby island municipality of Cagayancillo.

Acquired in 2008 and refurbished through a partnership with Grieg Star, Grieg Foundation and WWF-Norway, the 18 meter long vessel now serves as the permanent home of WWF-Philippines’ ‘Oceans Seven’ team.

Modifications include improved propulsion systems to optimize fuel consumption and increase range, a brand-new fiberglass coating for the vessel’s hull and upgrades for navigational, communications and safety equipment.

“These upgrades are vital in ramping-up our research and enforcement efforts for the Sulu Sea,” explains WWF-Philippines Tubbataha Reefs Project Manager Marivel Dygico. “At the center of the Sulu Sea lie the Tubbataha Reefs, where fish biomass breaches 200-tonnes per square kilometer. This is five times greater than the productivity of a typical healthy reef and seeds the Sulu Sea with fish and invertebrate spawn. It is imperative to protect and conserve Tubbataha through regular research and patrol efforts.”

The Tubbataha Reefs is slated to celebrate its 25th year as a Marine Protected Area in 2013. Before it was declared a National Marine Park in 1988, the reef’s residents have long suffered from exploitation, with generations of fishermen gathering not just fish, but turtles and bird eggs as well.

On 21 December 2006, 30 Chinese poachers on board the F/V Hoi Wan were apprehended 1.5 nautical miles from Tubbataha Reef Natural Park’s South Atoll, a national marine protected area where entry without authorized clearance is strictly prohibited. Found aboard were over 2300 high-value fish, including live Grouper, Red Snapper and 359 legally-protected Napoleon Wrasse. WWF and the Tubbataha Management Office stand ever alert to counter future incursions.

Adds Grieg Star Senior Vice-president Ole Steinar Mjell, “Realizing the importance and urgency of conserving Tubbataha, we are impressed by the results of WWF-Philippines’ efforts. We are proud to be able to present a small contribution to their success.”

Research and Enforcement Vessel

From March to September this year, M/Y Navorca was involved in no less than ten trips – including research for seabirds, corals and fish, capped off by a month-long expedition to the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Protected Area in Malaysia, a million-hectare wonderland of contiguous coasts, islands and deep seas at the southern border of the Philippines. Using M/Y Navorca as a mother ship, the expedition was led by scientists, staff and volunteers from University Malaysia Sabah, WWF-Malaysia and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Other expeditions include a media trip for two leading Filipino television networks plus exposure trips for partners, donors and WWF-Philippines National Ambassadors Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez.

WWF’s seaborne Panda is slated for similar trips in 2013. Surveys to be undertaken include seabird, fish, coral and COTS (crown of thorns seastar) monitoring surveys, further installation of mooring buoys plus immersive trips for WWF allies and supporters. As well as protecting Tubbataha, WWF has also conducted environmental seminars for 876 Filipino seafarer-cadets from the Norwegian Maritime Foundation of the Philippines (NMFPI).

Through the aid of Grieg Star, Grieg Foundation and WWF-Norway, the newly-upgraded vessel will once more be ready to explore and protect the mysteries of the Sulu Sea by the summer of 2013.

“Though other Philippine marine parks are in the decline, Tubbataha has proven to be an example of what a world-class marine park can be. Consider that less than 5% of Philippine coral reefs are in excellent condition and that 40 million Filipinos rely on the sea for food or livelihood. Can we really afford to lose what remains? We need all the support we can get to protect these sunken food factories,” concludes Dygico. (30)

Former DOE Sec. Pérez Re-elected to WWF Int’l Board

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Vince S. Perez EDC Board Photos 001Press Update:

Former Philippine Department of Energy Secretary Vincent S. Pérez was unanimously re-elected to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International Board of Trustees. Having served with distinction since 2010, Pérez is the first Filipino to be elected as a member of the prestigious 14-person board.

The WWF International Board is responsible for the conduct, administration and representation of WWF globally, defining its missions and policies.

Headquartered in Gland, Switzerland, WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, with about 1300 conservation projects and offices in over 100 countries and has over five million supporters.

WWF-Philippines has been working as a national organization of the WWF network since 1997 and develops practical solutions to help the Philippines adapt to climate change, secure food and water sources, conserve endangered species, and promote renewable sources of clean energy.

Among WWF-Philippines’ achievements during Pérez’s term were revitalized engagements with corporate partners, enhanced cross-country collaboration between WWF-Philippines and other WWF organizations within Asia-Pacific, and four highly-celebrated years as the world’s most participative Earth Hour country.

Says WWF-Philippines Vice-Chair & CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, “Each WWF International trustee brings to the table unique competencies. Aside from providing excellent insights as to the adoption of clean energy sources, Vince offers sound advice on the measured development of Asia and other developing nations.”

Pérez currently sits as Chairman of WWF-Philippines and the El Nido Resorts. He is also the CEO of Alternergy Partners, a renewable power company.

Says WWF International President and former Ecuadorian Environment Minister Yolanda Kakabadse, “Vince brings to the Board the unpaired experience of private and public policy making as well as a passion for conservation.”

WWF International Board Trustee and WWF-Philippines Chairman Vincent S. Pérez was the Philippines’ youngest Energy Minister, serving from June 2001 to March 2005. He was re-elected for his second term as trustee of WWF International from 2013 to 2016, ensuring the prioritization Asian initiatives for the 100-nation strong WWF network.

WWF Raises Red Flag on Overfishing at Tuna Fisheries

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Tuna by Gregg Yan

Chicken of the Sea – Tuna are among the world’s most important marine commodities, feeding billions of people globally while providing affordable protein for millions of Filipinos. A handline fisherman proudly shows off his catch: a 42-kilogramme Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) – one of the most majestic and delectable fish in the sea. (WWF-Philippines / Gregg Yan)

Press Update:

Manila, Philippines: WWF urges the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to adopt pragmatic measures for limiting the catch of species in the Western Central Pacific Ocean  to stem overfishing.

“The implementation of these measures sets the foundation for a sustainably-managed fishery,” says WWF´s Smart Fishing Initiative Western Central Pacific Tuna Programme Officer Alfred Cook.

“If such management measures such as setting limits on tuna fisheries are not applied soon, tuna fisheries in the Pacific will face continued declines.  This will result in substantial negative impacts on our fishing communities and marine ecosystem.”

WWF calls upon the WCPFC to adopt specific reference points and harvest control rules for tuna fisheries in the Western and Central pacific region. These tools have already proven to be successful in managing fisheries sustainably. Implementing these measures would allow managers to act swiftly and efficiently under a pre-agreed standard to ensure that harvests do not exceed acceptable limits, thus ensuring the sustainability of the resource and the consistent supply of fish to our markets.

“Currently, tuna fisheries in this region are  managed  on an opportunistic basis with a consensus-based system.  This is subject to  competing interests and values that often lead to decisions for short-term economic interests at the expense of long-term productivity and sustainability which eventually leads to overfishing,” says Cook.

The implementation of limits known as ‘reference points’ provide benchmarks around which management measures are standardized and allow for explicit, decisive action to occur in the presence of sound scientific information.

If harvests approach a reference point, the WCPFC must take explicit action defined by harvest control rules to prevent adverse consequences such as overfishing.

“It really is a very simple, concrete and feasible concept.  If you are approaching a designated limit that could result in harm to the fishery, you take action to prevent that from happening.  Right now, the WCPFC doesn’t really have a mechanism to do that in a timely and efficient way,” says Cook.

Once reference points and harvest control rules are in place, they will prevent the bureaucratic paralysis that the WCPFC often encounters due to the annual horse trading and ad hoc rules of the current process.

The politics of the WCPFC process can often hinder decisive and sound decision-making regarding the sustainability of tuna fisheries. Implementation of these measures would prevent essential action from being held hostage over the political concerns of a single member state by providing clear, objective, and scientific measures that constitute pre-agreed standards for taking explicit, science-based action on fisheries conservation.

Also the private sector stands to gain from implementing these measures from a market perspective. Reference points and harvest control rules are part of the conditions to be able to enter the certification process of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – currently the best available certification scheme in the market that awards sustainably-managed fisheries.

“Our ultimate goal is to put a halt to overfishing, to ensure our fish stocks remain in a healthy state so that there is sustainable supply of fish to our markets. We strongly encourage certifying tuna fisheries according to the MSC programme,” says Cook.

Towards this end, WWF and a large group of responsible buyers, harvesters, processors, and traders, are making a pledge to the WCFPC Commission to support well-planned and designed tuna fishery improvement and conservation initiatives to sustain livelihoods, minimize environmental impacts and supply the world with responsibly-managed, high quality tuna through certification according to the MSC standards.

Concludes WWF-Philippines Conservation Programmes Head Joel Palma, “These measures are crucial in safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of millions of fishermen within the Coral Triangle. By fishing smarter rather than harder, we can ensure a steady supply of seafood for years to come.”

About WWF:

WWF is the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organization, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.


Reference points: A Reference Point is a benchmark value that helps managers decide how the fishery is performing and is often based on an indicator such as fishery stock size or the level of fishing. Fisheries scientists conduct a fishery stock assessment to provide estimates of a fishery stock size and fishing mortality over time. Reference Points serve as a standard to compare those estimates based on our understanding of the biological characteristics of the targeted species. Reference points can mark a limit, which represents a level that managers aim to avoid, or a target, which managers strive to achieve and maintain. Managers can also establish a trigger that is independent of the limit or target that is designed to meet other objectives.

A harvest control rule:  is a pre-agreed action to be taken by a management body designed to achieve a medium or long-term target reference point while avoiding reaching a limit reference point. Simple Harvest Control Rules can be described as an “if, then” statement. An example of a very simple Harvest Control Rule would be “if the fishery stock level falls below the target level, then the level of fishing must be reduced by 20 percent.” Managers may additionally agree in advance what the specific management actions are to reach that 20 percent reduction in the level of fishing, such as a regional closure or gear restriction.