Partnership with Endangered Species International in South Mindanao, Philippines
CNCo partners the Endangered Species International (ESI) in South Mindanao in the Philippines on mangrove and coastal reef conservation and to both protect the endangered Philippine forest turtles and enhance their biosphere to encourage population growth. Under this partnership, ASSM volunteers (who are CNCo seafarers) work unpaid in the field alongside the ESI on various conservation and community engagement activities for periods of five days, whilst CNCo pays for travel, accommodation and subsistence.
We are very proud of this programme that has developed into a long-term partnership since its establishment in 2013, and for which our caring seafarers willingly volunteer to enhance the biodiversity in their communities.
After a year’s break, CNCo’s volunteers returned to South Cotabato in the Philippines as part of our on-going partnership with Endangered Species International (ESI) to assist with conservation efforts to protect endangered Philippine fresh water turtles. Prior to participation, Martin Pitt, Swire Representative, SPSM Rep Office Manila, completed a pre-visit security appraisal which involved meetings with government officials, the police and other agencies to determine if we could resume our Corporate Social Responsibility projects in the area which was affected by the conflict in northern Mindanao (Marawi) in 2017. After getting the “all clear” our first team of CNCo volunteers headed to Tupi, South Cotabato, between 16th July and 21st July 2018. The team comprised five team members: Bosun Melicio Berja (Team Leader), Cook Jonathan Mona, Deck Cadet John Levi Tan, Wiper Ronie Bungcasan and OS Daryll Macaraeg.
Within five days CNCo volunteers, together with ESI staff and local communities, were able to collect 120 rare native tree species from the forest floor of Mt. Matutum under the guidance of a ESI field biologist, completed the construction of a tree nursery for wildings, planted 100 native trees, weeded the ground for 350 planted and naturally growing trees, as well as conducted monitoring of 150 trees planted by previous volunteers.
“I’m thankful and happy for the opportunity to help preserve and conserve nature and also to help the community - Blaan’s tribe - living in Mt. Matutum. Their hospitality and warmth in welcoming us was really heartwarming. While it was tiring building the nursery chamber for the wildlings we collected, it was, at the same time, very rewarding to be able to play our role in conserving the natural habitat for the animals. Thanks, CNCo for picking me as one of volunteers for this project!”
OS Darryl Macaraeg “I had a wonderful time during the trip. Climbing the mountain to get the wild plants for preservation was an interesting experience. If given another chance to join the turtle trip, I will gratefully accept it.”
Cook Jonathan Mona.