PH gets 6th World Heritage site

·Kim Arveen Patria
Mount Hamiguitan (From the website of the local government of San Isidro, Davao Oriental)

The Philippines got its sixth World Heritage Site with the inclusion of a Davao Oriental forest sanctuary and mountain range in the list of United Nations-protected areas Monday.

Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife and Sanctuary was inscribed in the Word Heritage List along with five other sites in a meeting, the World Heritage Committee said.

The Committee, which operates under the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, identifies sites "of outstanding universal value" for inclusion in the list.

Sites should also meet at least one of the 10 selection criteria to be named a World Heritage Site. One criteria is being a significant natural habitat for endangered wildlife.

In a statement, the WHC said Hamiguitan "provides critical habitat for a range of plant and animal species,"  eight of which are found only in the mountain range.

Among the important species found in Hamiguitan are critically endangered trees, plants and the iconic Philippine Eagle and Philippine Cockatoo, WHC said.

The Mindanao sanctuary was among those chosen from 40 sites globally for inclusion in the World Heritage List. It had been nominated for the list in 2013, but was not inscribed.

Aside from Hamiguitan, other World Heritage Site in the Philippines are Tubbataha Reef; the Rice Terraces; the Palawan Underground River; Vigan; and local baroque churches.

Other sites inscribed in the World Heritage List Monday were:
-Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex (Russian Federation)
-Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements  with Stone Spheres of the Diquis (Costa Rica)
-Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex (Viet Nam)
-Great Himalayan National Park (India)
-Stevns Klint (Denmark)

Extensions for the following World Heritage Sites have also been confirmed:
-South China Karst (China)
-Bialowieża Forest (Belarus/Poland)
-The Wadden Sea (Germany/Denmark)

The latest inscriptions in the World Heritage List bring the total number of sites to 1,007. The Philippines is among the 21 state parties in the World Heritage Committee.

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