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Palawan Builds New Ranger Station to Protect Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

The provincial government of Palawan is continuing its efforts to improve the living conditions of the rangers who protect the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a global hotspot for marine biodiversity.

According to a press release from the provincial government, the construction of Phase II of the Tubbataha Ranger Station in Cagayancillo town began on April 19, 2023 and is expected to be completed by June 2023.

The project, which costs P58.2 million, involves building a two-storey concrete structure with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining area, a lounge, a storage room, and a generator room. The project also includes installing solar panels, water tanks, and communication equipment.

The project is funded by the compensation paid by the US government for the damage caused by USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper that ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in January 2013. The incident resulted in about 2,345 square meters of coral reef damage and sparked outrage among environmentalists and Filipinos.

The Tubbataha Management Office (TMO), which oversees the management and conservation of the park, expressed its gratitude to the provincial government for its support. Angelique Songco, the protected area superintendent of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, said that providing safe and dignified housing for the rangers is crucial for their morale and performance.

“We are grateful for the efforts of the Provincial Government of Palawan to provide our law enforcers with safe and dignified housing in the middle of the Sulu Sea,” Songco said. “The rangers are our frontliners who risk their lives to protect our national treasure from illegal fishing and other threats.”

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park covers an area of 97,030 hectares and hosts about 75% of coral species and 40% of fish species in the world. It is also home to endangered marine animals such as sea turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins, and seabirds. The park was declared a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993 and has been recognized as one of the best dive sites in the world.

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