Residents volunteer in releasing sea turtle hatchlings in Pag-asa Island

The Kalayaan island town recently released 87 sea turtle or pawikan hatchlings on Pag-asa Island as part of its Pawikan Hatchery Program.

Rita Romasanta, municipal data controller, told Palawan News that the recently released hatchlings came from 90 eggs in their facility.

Romasanta said since they started the program, local residents are now aware about not harming the eggs and the hatchlings.

“The pawikan hatchery program started in 2017 araw-araw pong nag-mo-monitor ‘yong mga personnel natin doon  at  ‘yong reports ay sina-submit sa amin dito monthly. Actually, usual na itong naggyayari doon na may mga pinapakawalan mostly every month meron kaming natatanggap na report na ganoon”, she said.

“Well informed naman ang mga residente about sa ordinance and even before na nagkaroon ng ganitong program yong mga residente kapag may nakita silang ganito sila na mismo ang nag ti turn-over sa ating mga personnels kaya halos lahat ng residente ay volunteers,” she added.

Romasanta said the municipal government plans to put up a roof to the hatchery to protect the eggs from birds.

“Ngayon po plan namin na lagyan ng bubong plastic lang naman yung hatchery para maprotektahan yung mga itlog sa mga ibon kasi po tinutuka nila yung mga itlog”, Romasanta added.

In 2018, they had gathered a total of 2,138 eggs of which 720 hatchlings were released.

The government-operated hatchery is only one of the many nesting areas of pawikans scattered throughout Philippine-claimed islands in the West Philippine Sea.