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The governor of Batangas requests action to protect Verde Island Passage.

Concerned that the spilled oil from the MT Princess Empress will wipe out the biodiversity of the Verde Island Passage (VIP), the leadership of Batangas has urged all parties to develop measures to assist conserve and sustain the VIP.

Gov. Hermilando Mandanas stressed the significance of the VIP as a source of food and livelihood in the five-province Calabarzon Region in an interview on Tuesday.

He claimed that the preservation of VIP should be a concern for both the provincial government and the international community due to the enormous quantity of marine species that are unique to its waters.

Mandanas, who serves as the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Calabarzon’s chair, noted that the VIP maritime corridor is the hub of the marine shore-fish biodiversity of the entire world.

The governor cited a recent report by Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) that suggested the management strategy for Batangas’ Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) could serve as a model for safeguarding the larger VIP corridor.

Onboard a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel, Mandanas recently sailed to the VIP for an ocular visit and reported that the oil from the shipwreck, which was 400 kilometers distant, had not yet reached these seas.

However, since then, oil has been found in the waters near the VIP in the Batangas island municipalities of Tingloy and Verde Island.

To prevent an impending environmental problem, Mandanas claimed he is working to bring together numerous government authorities and concerned commercial sector organizations to discuss ways to keep the VIP in immaculate condition.

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