Kids join fun run to save sea turtles

By Rhaydz B. Barcia TIWI, Albay --- The fun run for the preservation of sea turtles instituted in this rich geothermal town four years ago continues to generate stronger support from residents of this town, including children. Antonela Coralde, 5, along with her cousins Ryl Brixter Alcantara, 5, Raine Coralde, 6, and Ricky Coralde, 7, joined the three-kilometer run, the shortest distance participated mostly by children, mothers and elderly in at least three categories of the fun run for sea turtles’ preservation here. Antonela’s mother joined with her in 3k category while her two elder brothers participated at 5k run and their father Anthony Coralde, 40, an OFW hit the 10-kilometer fun run for the sea turtles in celebration of the 54th Fish Conservation Week with the theme “Industriya ng pangaisdaan ay masigla kung ang karagatan ay malinis at masagana.” Antonela’s father Anthony has been consistently attending the fun run for sea turtles as his personal advocacy. Leonila V. Coralde, municipal agriculturist of Tiwi and grandmother of Antonela said that seven of his grandchildren woke up as early as 4:00 a.m. to join the event to help intensify the advocacy to save the sea turtles and preserve biodiversity here. “It’s my son Anthony, Antonela’s father, who encouraged the kids to join the event to boost the advocacy to save one of the world’s endangered marine species,” she said. The Coralde family composes the biggest delegation with more than 40 members of the clan participating in the fun run attended by more than 600 runners. The annual run for the sea turtles is being held in the coastal village of Baybay here where the Coastal and Fisheries Learning Resources Center (CFLRC) tower is also located. The fun run starts at the municipal plaza of this town passing through the scenic trails of Bolo to Naglagbong Park down to the coastal village of Baybay. After the fun run, the Coralde family whose members have settled in one compound sat down for ‘boodle fight’ to celebrate the festive advocacy campaign. Turtles freed back to sea Tiwi is the sole municipality in Bicol with this kind of fun run. The program aims to educate the people, specifically the local community where fishermen are encouraged to protect and preserve sea turtles, biodiversity and ecology. The event is part of the 54th Fish Conservation Week program of the Philippine Geothermal Production Co. (PGPC) and of the local government unit of Tiwi in the protection of the environment to avert the adverse impact of climate change. After the fun run, two sea turtles, a green sea and hawksbill turtles were unleashed back to the sea. Coralde said that the green sea turtle was caught by Domingo Ciocson of Barangay Bolo last October 23 while the hawksbill was captured by Romeo Deocareza last October 19 in Barangay Baybay here. Study shows that a sea turtle can survive for 150 million years. Unfortunately, the species is now on extinction level due to poaching and illegal trading. Human-induced pollution resulting to global warming further aggravated the decimation of sea turtles. Erwin Vargas, PGPC spokesman, said the run for the sea turtles is strongly supported by their company to help conserve and protect the environment and the seas for the upcoming generations, in support of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. The town of Tiwi is located in the eastern seaboard of Albay facing the Pacific Ocean. It is home of the first and oldest clean renewable energy geothermal field is Asia within a 17-kilometer coastline with 1,500 accredited tuna fishermen. So far, at least 200 sea turtles of different varieties had been caught by Tiwi fishermen. They were accordingly turned over to the local government unit for tagging. The LGU of Tiwi has since partnered with local fishermen as wardens of the seas to protect marine resources.