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P50-M ranger station to be set up in Tubbataha

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) plans to build a new ranger station for the Tubbataha Protected Area.

To be built beside the old barracks, the new ranger station estimated to cost P50 million will feature a research building for eight marine biologists and a museum that will showcase Tubbataha’s rich history and biodiversity.

It will also have a library, visitors’ center and merchandise shop to entice tourists not only to interact with the rangers but also to provide a needed mechanism for fundraising.

The plan will be facilitated by WWF-Philippines and the Tubbataha Management Office and is in line with the celebration of Tubbataha’s 25th anniversary as a Marine Protected Area on Aug. 11. Proponents have slated the groundbreaking ceremonies for October.

The station will utilize technologies like solar panels, micro-wind turbines and rainwater collectors to maximize both resource sufficiency and operational capacity.

It was designed by WWF-Philippines consultant Dylan James Melgazo, an architect who spent three weeks assessing the offshore complex in 2012, and a team of architects from Emerging Architects Studio composed of Kim Pullante, Dean Ramos, Don Sebastian and Marc Virtucio.

“The (old ranger) station has served the country well, but we must revitalize it to be able to deal with fresh threats... Poacher incursions, grounding incidents and climate change effects are critical issues. Enhancing our capacity to protect Tubbataha makes perfect sense as the reef provides food and livelihood for millions of Filipinos,” Melgazo said.

“Sitting in the middle of the Sulu Sea, it’s hard to resupply the station, which is why we designed it to be as self-sufficient as possible. Sunshades double as rainwater collection systems while wind slats provide continuous ventilation. We also added a helipad for medical evacuation purposes. Years back, a ranger was bitten by a Great Barracuda and had to be rushed to Puerto Princesa by speedboat. He made it but his scar will always serve to remind others that out there, the sea is boss,” he added.

He also said a host of institutions have pledged to contribute to the station’s rebirth.

The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority has pledged to provide P40 million in seed money to jumpstart the station’s construction, while Lafarge Philippines has committed to provide special Type 5 marine construction cement explicitly engineered for the sea.

 

DEAN RAMOS

DON SEBASTIAN AND MARC VIRTUCIO

DYLAN JAMES MELGAZO

EMERGING ARCHITECTS STUDIO

GREAT BARRACUDA

KIM PULLANTE

LAFARGE PHILIPPINES

MARINE PROTECTED AREA

PHILIPPINES AND THE TUBBATAHA MANAGEMENT OFFICE

TUBBATAHA

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