Apo Reef Nature Park Wins Marine Wildlife Conservation Award
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 7) – Apo Reef Nature Park in Occidental Mindoro is one of three marine protected areas in the world to have won the 2022 Blue Park Awards from the international non-profit ocean conservation organization Marine Conservation Institute.
The other two winners this year are the Raja Ampat Islands Marine Conservation Area in Indonesia and the Old Providence McBean Lagoon National Park in Colombia.
The Blue Park Award recognizes marine protected areas around the world with exceptional underwater wildlife conservation.
Apo Reef Nature Park is the second marine protected area in the country to win the prestigious Blue Park Award. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan received the citation in 2017.
“This Blue Park Award is a testament to more than two decades of hard work from different sectors for the conservation and protection of Apo Reef Natural Park,” said Krystal Villanada, Director of Apo Reef Natural Park.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is also celebrating the feat achieved by Apo Reef Nature Park. The award, he noted, is outstanding recognition for all stakeholders protecting the region.
“This award is an impetus not only for our hardworking men and women on the ground, but also for the national government to boost conservation efforts in our marine protected areas through our policies, programs and collaboration with various stakeholders” , said DENR Officer-in-Charge Secretary Ernesto Adobo Jr. said in a statement.
Apo Reef covers approximately 34 square kilometers and is recognized as the largest coral reef in the country. It is also the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
The 274.69 km². The marine natural park located about 33 kilometers offshore from the town of Sablayan is also a diving spot known for its varied flora and fauna and its different varieties of corals.
The area was declared a protected natural park by former President Fidel Ramos in 1996.
Apo Reef Nature Park is managed by the DENR, the Protected Areas Management Office, the Protected Areas Management Board and Sablayan’s local government unit, Occidental Mindoro.