Bishop Moises Cuevas of Calapan City on Tuesday, Oct. 3 urged the people of Oriental Mindoro to work together for the protection of the Verde Island Passage.
“The protection of this biodiversity hotspot is not just an ecological imperative; it is a moral duty that reflects our love for both creation and our fellow human beings,” Cuevas said in a Facebook post by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
The Catholic bishop made the appeal as the globally-important marine seascape is facing numerous threats, including overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change.
He added that the threats do not just only jeopardize marine life but also the local communities that depend on its resources.
“Let us act and work together to ensure that this extraordinary gift of nature is passed down to future generations, for it is in protecting these marine habitats that we truly demonstrate our love for the Earth and all our affected communities,” Cuevas said.
“By safeguarding the Verde Island Passage, we take a significant step towards healing our wounded planet and building a more just sustainable world for future generations," he added.
The Verde Island Passage is regarded by experts as the “center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity” in the world.
It is home to more than 300 coral species, 170 fish species and thousands of marine organisms such as sharks and turtles; and provides livelihood and other benefits to over two million people.
The marine corridor is surrounded by the provinces of Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Romblon. (Erika Escover)