PermRep to IMO Gilberto Asuque with Prof. Jay Batongbacal of the UP Center for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea donates books on the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park to the IMO at the close of the NCSR4. Director Ashok Mahapatra of the Maritime Safety Division receives the books on behalf of Secretary General Kitach Lim.
10 March 2017 – The Philippines donated books on the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to enhance awareness on the pristine and fragile marine environment of the reefs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Permanent Representative to the IMO Gilberto Asuque led members of the Philippine Delegation to the 4th session of the IMO Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications, and Search and Rescue (NCSR 4, 6-10 March 2017 at the IMO Headquarters, London) in turning over the books as additional reference materials in the IMO library. Director Ashok Mahapatra of the Maritime Safety Division received the books on behalf Secretary General Kitach Lim.
The donated publications are the “Tubbataha – A National Treasure”, a pictorial publication by Maria Teresa “Tet” Lara; a CD on the “TRNP – World Heritage Site”; and “Field Guide to the Top Predators of the TRNP”, edited by Angelique M. Songco.
The books will be important reference materials in the IMO following the decision of NCSR 4 to approve the Philippine proposal to designate the entire Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Sulu Sea as an Area to be Avoided (ATBA).
With the ATBA as the sole Associated Protective Measure (APM) over the TRNP, ship masters sailing through the Sulu Sea will be guided to plot a course that will not enter the Tubbataha Reefs and thereby reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of accidental ship grounding by keeping ships well away from the TRNP and its component coral reef atolls/structures.
The TRNP is designated as a national Marine Protected Area through Republic Act No. 10067 (known as the TRNP Act) enacted by the Philippine Congress to provide the national legal and institutional framework for the protection of the Tubbataha Reefs. The law defines the TRNP boundaries, establishes the basic rules for the management of the TRNP, and provides for the authority of the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board to manage the TRNP.