Wetlands Caravan:
Tawi-Tawi Economic and Environment Summit

Venue:  Datu Amilbahar Jaafar Convention Center, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi
Date:  16 & 17 September 2006

  • Provincial Government of Tawi-Tawi
  • Pagtabangan BaSulTa
  • USAID Partners
  • Unilever Philippines

The First Tawi-Tawi Economic and Environment Summit, which was held on 16-17 September 2006 at the heart of Morolandia, was attended by 191 supporters of Coastal Wetlands Caravan.  The summit, with its theme Bridging Economic and Environment Goals:  Key to Sustainable Development, had brought together representatives of various sectors of the society  to discuss and provide inputs in the development of a provincial environment and economic development framework that will serve as the developmental direction of the province of Tawi-Tawi.  The lead convenor of this summit was Professor  Filemon G. Romero, former President of the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands and the point person of the Coastal Wetlands Caravan in Tawi-Tawi.

The Summit was attended by local prominent personalities such as Bongao Mayor Hadji Hadji Tiblan Ahaja, Vice Mayor Hadji Kuyoh Pajiji and Councilors Virginia Gan and Jolly Ahaja,  Sitangkai FARMC Chair Mohammadan Jaafar, Sitangkai Mayor Hasbi Matba, Vice Mayor Ishmael Salih, Councilors Said Idlasan and Mujibur Durie, Languyan FARMC Chair Alex Ramos, Languyan Mayor Nickerson Tan, Vice Mayor Kennedy Muksin, SB Secretary Arthur Guerzon, Councilor Carl Cañizares,  FARMC Chair Jioksin Tan

Resolved during the summit were the expansion of membership  of the Provincial Technical Working Group and the setting up  of  Task Forces on Environment and Economic Development  and Investment sectors to push forward the agreed  process for the drafting and passage of the provincial environment code and investment code.

One of the highlights of the summit was the signing of the covenant wherein the local government units, partners and donors signed their commitment “to care for and nurture the Earth, our only home, and especially our beloved Tawi-Tawi, and abide by the intent and spirit of the Tawi-Tawi Provincial Environment Code, so that we may achieve our common vision of a healthy environment and sustainable economic development for the present and future generations of Tawi-Tawians”. This signing of the manifesto of commitment was led by Tawi-Tawi Governor Hadji Sadikul A. Sahali and Vice Governor Jilkasi Usman.

Another highlight of the event was the launching of the Tawi-Tawi MPA’s in the Municipalities of Bongao, Panglima Sugala and Simunul for the FISH project and the municipalities of  Mapun, Languyan and Sitangkai for WWF-Philippines.  This signaled the launching of the Provincial Coastal Resources Management Program as part of the Provincial Executive and Legislative Agenda. The Coastal Wetlands Caravan partners in the Municipalities of Sitangkai, Mapun and Languyan were responsible in assisting the WWF-CRFC Project in the barangay consultations, demarcation, delineation and zoning of the marine protected areas, community hearings, preparation of the draft ordinances and the eventual passage and implementation.

IEC materials (posters and flyers) on wetlands were displayed and distributed to the participants to help increase the participants’ awareness on the importance of good wetland management and the goals and objectives of the Wetlands Caravan.

–  Reported by Dr. Filemon Romero