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Mt. Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary nominated to UNESCO World Heritage List

The Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental may soon join the five other protected areas in the Philippines which have been inscribed in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. The five are Tubbataha Reef; Philippine Baroque Churches (San Agustin in Intramuros, Santa Maria and Paoay in Ilocos Sur and Norte, Miag-ao in Iloilo); Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan; Cordillera Rice Terraces; and Historic City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur.

Del RosarioMt. Hamiguitan has been submitted by the Philippine for inclusion in the UNESCO List. Known for its unique 600-hectare bonsai or “pygmy” forest which includes 100-year-old trees, Mt. Hamiguitan is home to 1,380 species of flora and fauna, of which 341 are endemic. Among these are the Philippine eagle, Philippine cockatoo, Philippine tarsier, Philippine crown deer, and Asian palm civet, along with plant species Shorea polysperma, Shorea astylosa, and orchid Paphiopedilum adductum. These species are on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an authority on status of plant and animal species worldwide.

The DFA expects that next year, Mt. Hamiguitan, declared a protected area under Philippine laws in 2004, will be added to the World Heritage List of 967 properties of cultural, natural, or mixed sites deemed to have universal value. It said the sanctuary’s inclusion in the list of UN-protected heritage sites will boost the country’s status as 7th of the 17 biologically rich countries of the world.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is now deliberating on the applications of 32 new sites after its 37th session in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on June 16-27, 2013. UNESCO noted that the sanctuary is a conservation interest to the nation. To the world, it is a habitat of endemic species of plants and animals found only in the sanctuary.

We congratulate the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization National Commission of the Philippines, headed by its Chairman Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and Secretary General Dr. Virginia A. Miralao, Philippine Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Ambassador to France Christina G. Ortega, and the provincial government of Davao Oriental, headed by Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, and Vice Governor Joel Mayo Z. Almario, and wish them the best and success in all endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!

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