THE COUNTRY’s first underwater laboratory has been constructed in Mabini, Batangas, one of the country’s top scuba diving spot.
The Coral Restoration Field Laboratory is a project of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), done with the help of Divers Institute of Technology which donated 25 units of Eco-MER artificial reef. Made of marine concrete with advance ecological features, Eco-MER has better larval attachment, higher survival rates of coral recruits and wider niche range for higher species diversity.
The artificial coral reefs are being monitored and studied to help enrich Balayan Bay’s ecosytem by setting up marine sanctuaries. Mooring buoys were likewise installed to prevent dropping of anchors which damage corals. SIU Volunteer divers, local dive professionals and the municipal Bantay Dagat who will work as technicians of the underwater laboratory were certified by the National Association of Underwater Instructors.
The undertaking is part of Shore It Up (SIU), MPIC’s award-winning corporate social responsibility program involved in coastal and underwarer cleanups, and setting up of Mangrove Propagation and Information Centers across the archipelago. Coral restoration is one way of mitigating the effects of climate change in the country, and ensuring the sustainability of ocean’s resources said MPIC Vice-President for PR and Corporate Communications Melody Del Rosario in a press statement.
Collaborating with the project are the Municipal Government of Mabini, Eco-MER, Haybols Scuba Hub, Anilao Camper, O2 Marine Protection Resort, Batangas Dive Pro, Pier Uno and Metro Pacific Tollways. The Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving certifies volunteer divers for the task, and endorses the program to other potential sites. The archipelago is considered as the center of the world’s so-called Coral Triangle, with more species of corals and fishes found here than any other place in the world.