Nov 29, 2020

Crocodile conservation group fears land conversion in Balabac

CPPI researcher Rainier Manalo told Palawan News in an interview Monday that they do not oppose the Balabac Airport, however, but its construction of concrete pavements and other facilities might instigate “habitat threat”. 

Crocodylus Porosus Philippines, Inc. (CPPI) is not opposed to the military’s airport project in Barangay Catagupan in Balabac, but it fears the conversion of some river and coastal portions in the 300-hectare area because they serve as habitat to the critically endangered saltwater crocodile.

CPPI researcher Rainier Manalo told Palawan News in an interview Monday that they do not oppose the Balabac Airport, however, but its construction of concrete pavements and other facilities might instigate “habitat threat”.

“Nagwo-worry tayo sa CPPI na siyempre kung may mga ganitong malalaking proyekto, lalo na sa mga lugar na ganito may mga threats yan sa mga living things in the natural habitat doon. Kagaya sa Catagupan, may mga buwaya dyan na nabubuhay at kung may mga land conversion, isa sila sa apektado,” he said.

“Pero naniniwala tayo na dumaan yan sa mga environmental government agencies natin”, added Manalo.

He said the crocodiles might leave their habitat and look for other areas where there will be no human disturbance.

Manalo said Catagupan is one of the barangays in Balabac that has a high population volume of saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus).

“Minsan ang tao siyempre naiinis kasi nakakapaminsala sila dahil sa may mga nakakagat ang mga buwaya sa lugar na yan, pero dahil lugar nila yan bahay nila yan siyempre ang kailangan ay huwag natin silang saktan,” he explained.

The Balabac Airport project is being managed by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in partnership with the provincial government of Palawan. It is eyed not only as a military base but also a terminal point for commercial flights and for use of the local government.

1Lt. Rufina Sabello, public information officer of the Tactical Operations Wing West (TOW West), said recently that they expect the project to be completed in 2021.

“Actually, nasa 41.25 percent na tayo, tuloy-tuloy naman po ang construction ng ating airport doon. Base sa plano, ito po ay inaasahan na matatapos sa 2021 pero hindi pa natin alam kung anong quarter. Ang agaran na pagpapatakbo nito ay hindi pa natin matiyak kasi nakadepende tayo sa budget,” she said.

 

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