Conservation International (CI) and the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) launched a 1 million US dollar trust fund to protect the Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL) during Conservation Conversation, an exclusive launch of the various works of CI Philippines and its partners.
The trust fund, which is the first of its kind in the Philippines, will provide sustainable financing for the long-term maintenance, protection and enrichment of the biodiversity within the MMPL.
CI’s Global Conservation Fund (GCF), a program that mobilizes financial resources for the creation, expansion and management of protected areas in the world, provided 1 million US dollars as initial capitalization of the fund. Its local partner, PTFCF, along with other stakeholders, will be responsible for the administration and management of the trust fund. The Foundation will shoulder the administrative costs for the MMPL fund for the first three years of the MMPL endowment. It will also undertake fundraising efforts to achieve the capitalization target for the MMPL endowment, which is 2.7 million US dollars.
MMPL, a declared protected area through Presidential Proclamation 1815, is a mountain range covering 120,457 hectares in Southern Palawan, Philippines. It lies within the territorial jurisdiction of five municipalities in the province of Palawan, namely, Sofronio Espanola, Quezon, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza and Rizal.
It is a key biodiversity area, which serves as home to more than 1,000 species, including threatened species such as the Palawan pangolin and the Philippine cockatoo (Conservation International, 2016).
MMPL is endowed with rich flora and fauna, with 75% of its remaining forest cover considered to be of primary growth. Primary growth forests are forests that has attained great age. This type of forest acts as a carbon sink. It soaks up the increasing pollution due to industrialization.
MMPL also plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of Southern Palawan. It covers major watershed areas that are crucial to agricultural economy and domestic water use, and serves as a source of non-timber forest products.