Ecology Stewardship Programme:
of Polillo's conservation importance, a full-time wildlife warden or 'Ecology
Steward', Vicente 'Enteng' Yngente, the first in the Philippines, was
employed in 1997 under the auspices of the PESP devised by Fauna and Flora
International and local wildlife biologists, with sponsorship assistance
from the North of England Zoological Society and other international conservation
agencies. Levels of hunting and deforestation have undoubtedly been reduced
and local public awareness of and interest in conservation of the islands
wildlife and forests have greatly increased due to his efforts. Without
the establishment of the PESP, and the hardwork, dedication and expertise
of Enteng, this project would not have been possible.
Polillos are situated 30km off the northeastern coast of Quezon Province,
Luzon (14°50'N, 122°05'E), Philippines.
Island the largest of the 27 islands and islets that compose the group,
measures 761 square kilometres.
rugged terrain of hilly and low mountain ridges forms a central spine
across the island. Mount Malulod, of limestone geology, is the highest
point, measuring 350 metres above sea-level. Most slopes only reach
100 metres with some about 200 metres.
is no or very little dry season, with a pronounced maximum rain period
from November to January. The southeast monsoon starts from May and
continues until September, while the northeast monsoon is prevalent
from October to April. Typhoons mainly frequent the island during the
last quarter of the year.
Much of the landscape is criss-crossed by river systems.
on Polillo are classified as lowland dipterocarp, beach forest and mangrove
forest. Lowland dipterocarp forests once extended across the entire
and fishing are the main economic activities in the islands, coconuts
and rice are the major crops. The island's economy is adversely affected
by regular typhoons. Coconuts are relatively unprofitable because of
the large land area required to produce economically viable amounts
of the key export product, copra, which has undergone a recent price
are 5 Municipalities and a total of 57 barangays in the Polillo Islands:
Polillo 20, Burdeos 14, Panukulan 12, Patnanungan 6, Jomalig 5, most
of which are coastal.
principal water source for Polillo Town is Sibulan watershed reserve
(The tank supplied by the reserve has a 60,000 gallon capacity).
is little transport infrastructure on the island at present. A road
from the north to the south of the island is currently being built that
will eventually link Polillo town, to Burdeos and Panukulan.
people of Polillo are highly dependant on its natural resources. Most
farmers in Polillo Municipality (around 70%) also fish because of falling
copra prices (around 6 pesos a kilo - approx. 4 coconuts). Some resort
to illegal fishing to gain profit, although aware that dynamite and cyanide
have detrimental consequences they lack alternative means to earn a living.
Polillo municipality therefore has more effort focused on protecting marine
resources. The Philippine army previously supported the Bantay Dagat (marine
guards) until Mayoress Almeda's term ended in early 2001, when the military
was assigned to Infanta. Consequently the few bantay-dagat that the municipality
can afford patrol the municipalities coasts armed only with radios and
are not viewed with the same reverence by fishermen. The bantay-dagat
mostly relay reports to armed police who are more equipped to apprehend
the illegal fishermen.