We are now a decade and one year after the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) was declared among the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
This November 11, 2022, Puerto Princesa City will celebrate the 11th year of PPUR’s inclusion. This year, the City hold the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival- PPUR Day Celebration 2022- which is a unique festival in the country highlighting the richness of our biodiversity. . In 2014, then President Benigno Aquino III issued the Proclamation No. 816 declared on November 11 of every year as PPUR Day, which he said that “such recognition brought great honor and acclaim not only to the City of Puerto Princesa and the Province of Palawan but to the entire nation as well”.
Puerto Princesa and Palawan, without any doubt, are the country’s last ecological frontier. But the influx of tourists and migrants, rapid urbanization, and other factors have put our rich and unique biodiversity in peril.
This year also coincides with the celebration of the Year of the Protected Areas or the YoPA Campaign, marking the 90th anniversary of establishing national parks in the country. Three national agencies namely the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) signed a joint declaration to support the celebration.
These agencies will work to promote protected areas (PAs) under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) and coordinate with other agencies at the national and local levels to ensure effective conservation and sustainable management for national parks nationwide.
Institutionalization of such efforts is necessary to ensure continued financing and conservation for the country’s national parks including our very own, PPUR. Part of the campaign’s sustainability strategy is to push for the approval of a proposed presidential proclamation to declare 2022 as the National Year of the Protected Areas and June of each year as the Month of the PAs.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) said that the Philippines is one of the world’s 18 mega-biodiverse countries, containing two-thirds of the Earth’s biodiversity and between 70% and 80% of the world’s plant and animal species. It ranks fifth in the number of plant species and maintains 5% of the world’s flora.
Over half of the country’s 53,000 described species can be found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, the Philippines is also considered as a biodiversity critical hotspot with at least 700 species in danger of becoming extinct. Around 93% of its original forest cover has been lost since the 1990s, with 53% of its remaining coral reefs in poor condition.
PPUR is a natural and tourism jewel of Puerto Princesa City. A precious yet fragile natural resource that every one of us should protect, conserve and preserve for future generations.
The Subaraw Biodiversity Festival is celebrated every November 11th, which is the day the PPUR became one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011.