Philippine Government Partners With Biggest Companies on Marine Conservation

The Philippine Government has joined hands with the country’s three biggest business conglomerates to protect and conserve the massive marine ecosystem of Verde Island Passage.

Spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the big three – Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV), the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) – agreed to assume joint stewardship of the critical waterway between Luzon and Mindoro islands in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DENR and the Department of Energy (DOE).

“Recognizing the imperative of safeguarding this natural treasure, the government, in collaboration with major business conglomerates, has embarked on a landmark partnership for the protection and conservation of the Verde Island Passage (VIP),” DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said.

The five parties today signed an MoU, firming up their commitment to pursue seven key objectives for VIP which stands as a testament to the Philippines’ rich marine biodiversity, earning its reputation as the “center of the center” of the world’s marine shore fish diversity.

Spanning the waters between Luzon and Mindoro islands, this critical waterway encompasses the provinces of Batangas, Marinduque, Romblon, and Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. Batangas, Marinduque, Romblon, Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.

Its strategic location places it at the heart of the Coral Triangle, a vast expanse renowned as the global epicenter of marine life diversity, encompassing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.

The ecological significance of the VIP cannot be overstated, as it serves as the habitat of over 1,700 marine species, including 60 percent of the world’s shore fish species, and 300 coral species. This concentration of marine life underscores the urgent need for its conservation and protection to maintain ecological balance not only within the Philippines but also on a global scale.

The MOU takes effect for five years with immediate effect, with possible extension, and with funding from each of the five signatories that will ensure VIP and the nearby provinces will thrive as a marine protected area.