Tubbataha Park superintendent receives biodiversity award
MANILA, Philippines — The site manager of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan has been awarded an environment prize for her dedication in protecting the biodiversity while meeting the needs of local residents and tourists.
Angelique Songco, the superintendent of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, won the KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek prize—an award given to individuals and organization who have made “an outstanding contribution to the preservation of biodiversity.”
KfW Stiftung Foundation said in a release that Songco’s work in the park prevented the UNESCO World Heritage Site from being overfished and dying.
“Songco, who has been managing the park since 2001, has developed an innovative and powerful strategy: it focuses especially on thorough education work and on reaching out to convince people in person,” KfW Stiftung Foundation said.
It added: “Above all, her work aims to develop an understanding among locals that increased conservation efforts are essential to securing their livelihood and to improving living conditions in the area permanently. Carefully regulated tourism and sustainable fishing have taken on major importance as a reliable source of income for the region and the park.”
The park superintendent said that people would only treat oceans with care when they understand the seas.
“It is important to me to explain to people that oceans are not infinite that they cannot absorb all our rubbish and that if we continue in this way, there will soon be no fish left for us to catch,” Songco was quoted as saying.
She received €50,000 (P2.9 million) as prize money.
The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, which covers 130,028 hectares, was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1993. It is home to more than 360 coral species, 600 fish species, eight marine mammals and around 100 seabird species.