The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan and Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental have been added to the list of Southeast Asia’s most treasured parks, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said yesterday.
He said environment ministers from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations approved the nomination of Tubbataha and Mt. Hamiguitan as the 34th and 35th ASEAN heritage parks, respectively during the 15th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment held in October in Vientiane, Laos.
He said the government is delighted by the designation of the two nature parks, which brings to seven the total number of ASEAN heritage parks in the Philippines.
The five other ASEAN heritage parks in the country are the Mt. Apo Natural Park, Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park and Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park in Mindanao; the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park in Occidental Mindoro, and the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve in Laguna.
“The designation of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary as regional heritage parks is long overdue, both having been named earlier as UNESCO World Heritage sites,” Paje said.
“This latest recognition indicates that the natural characteristics of both Tubbataha park and Mt. Hamiguitan sanctuary are so exceptional they deserve to be protected for the benefit of everyone in Southeast Asia,” he added.