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Several sites with good coral cover in Puerto Princesa City are proposed for inclusion in the core zone of the Special Environment Plan (SEP) of Palawan.
Mark Ace Dela Cruz, Project Development Officer of Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSD), presented the status of coastal, marine and wetland ecosystem and explained that some coastal barangays within the city are recommended to be included in core zones to strengthen the protection and conservation measures in areas with remaining good corals.
These are in Barangay Buenavista, Macarascas, New Panggangan, and San Manuel.
“Based on our assessment, several sites with corals are recommended to be (included) in core zones,” he said.
Jover Delgado, Aquaculturist of the City Agriculture Office, said that some of the areas with good corals were affected by coral bleaching, thus inclusion of some sites with good corals is timely and necessary.
“Affected talaga ng coral bleaching. Nakita naming nag-dectease and live coral cover. Kung umiinit na naman ay mas lumawak pa ang coral bleaching” he warned.
He further said that climate change is the main culprit of coral bleaching as well as other factors. Coral bleaching commonly associated to warming sea temperature has changed the coral’s color into pale white until it becomes lifeless. Due to the coral bleaching some of the existing good corals are gone.
Delgado explained that the disappearance of these corals due to bleaching affects the fish catch and the abundance of fishery products in the locality since coral reefs are their habitat and breeding place, thus coral bleaching is detrimental to the city’s fish productivity.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Felizardo Cayatoc, said that the DENR-Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) conducted an assessment of coral cover for entire Palawan in 2016 to 2017.
Dr. Lita Sopsop of Western Philippine University (WPU) said based on their study that pollutants coming from the city is another pressure that might worsen coral bleaching aside from humid sea temperature.
“Lumalabas na ganun yung situations. Mas mabuti na mapag-aralan together ang common trend para mabuo itong mga data. It could be an effect of climate change and environmental degradation. Magandang e put together, titingnan kung ano ang common trend kasi may evolving story ang nangyayari sa corals pati sa seagrass,” said Ed Queblatin, a Policy Consultant.