A Forum on Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People was held on 19 February 2008 at Mindanao State University (MSU) – Tawi-Tawi to celebrate the World Wetlands Day. It was attended by the MSU faculty, students and staff, representatives from the government, and community leaders.
Resource persons of the forum were Atty. Ipat Luna and Prof. Filemon G. Romero. Atty. Luna stressed the need for an intensive information campaign prior to the legislation passage of the Tawi-Tawi environment code in order to have better chance to generate voluntary compliance from the community. She also emphasized that any legislative measure should have real inputs from the people so that it will generate public support.
Prof. Romero gave emphasis on the importance of the many wetlands of Tawi-Tawi, such as the lakes of Mapun, which is the source of food/fish and clean water; the marshlands of Sanga-Sanga, which is the source of water for Bongao; the tidal flats of Sitangkai, which is source of seaweeds and other commercial invertebrates; Languyan Bay, which is the home of the salt water crocodile; and the mangrove forests, which are the nesting grounds to important species of birds. Since Tawi-Tawi has one of the highest prevalence of water-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, and digestive infections (including cholera), he called on a more focused action to manage the wetlands so that they will continue to provide food and clean water and thus keeping the communities healthy.
The holding of the forum was in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, Mindanao State University – Tawi-Tawi and the Provincial Government of Tawi-Tawi.
Reported by Mon Romero