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Philippine Aquarium Applying For Permit To Import Two Bottlenosed Dolphins!

We recently received information that the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium (SBME) in Subic Bay, Philippines, is applying for a permit to import two bottlenosed dolphins to the Ocean Adventures Park in Subic.

As you all know, SBME has not secured an Environmental Compliance Certificate for their park nor have they registered with the Animal Welfare Division, in blatant violation of environmental and animal welfare laws.

They are likewise supporting the internationally condemned Japanese drive fisheries by buying animals from Japan.

We can stop this planned importation by writing to Department of Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor not to issue any kind of import permit to SBME.

Contact details are as follows:

Mr. Leonardo Montemayor
Secretary Department of Agriculture
Telefax (632) 929-8183 or (632)926-6426

We would also appreciate it if you can fax copies of your letters to our office (Telefax (632) 435-3098) so we can compile all of these to show Secretary Montemayor.

> Our quick action on this matter can determine the outcome of this issue. Please write those letters!

APRIL 13, 2001
By: Cynthia Balana
Inquirer News Service

Yesterday the Department of Environment and Natural Resources asserted that it was the only agency qualified to issue Environmental Clearance Certificates (ECC), thus ensuring the closure of the marine show at the Camayan Wharf at the freeport.

In a report to President Macapagal-Arroyo, DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez said, "The department ascertains its authority over activities that significantly affect the environment, particularly in the processing and issuance of ECCs for all environmentally critical areas."

The swim-with-the-dolphins project of the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. (SBME) had met stiff resistance from environmentalists even before it started operating on Feb. 12.

The concerned groups charged the dolphin show destroyed the complex social structure of the sea animals it uses, as well as the coral and the marine ecosystem at the freeport.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority earlier claimed it had the power to issue an ECC to the operator of the dolphin show under the SBMA charter. Alvarez, however, asserted the DENR has the sole authority to issue ECCs under Section 4 of Presidential Decree 1586, or the Environmental Impact Statement which was strengthened with the issuance of the Administrative Code 300 of 1996.

In fact, Alvarez said, the SBMA recognized the DENR's authority when it applied for and was issued ECCs for at least two projects--the SBMA-Tipo Road project and the Subic Bay power project.

In addition, he said, ECC applications for the Concrete Gravity Structure Project and the Shell Malampaya Gas project are pending at his department.

A DENR investigative task force confirmed the show had no ECC, that marine specimens were imported, transported and collected without permits, and issues on animal welfare had been left unanswered.

On March 12, the DENR Region III office issued a cease-and-desist order against the SBMA but it met stiff resistance from the organizers of the show. Alvarez also sought confirmation of reports that one of the dolphins in the show has died.

Earlier, environmental groups worldwide denounced the swim-with-the-dolphins project. Protest letters flooded the DENR asking it to stop the project. The Humane Society of the United States said the project "adds an increased element of exploitation without adding any perceivable additional educational benefits."

Some of the groups wrote directly to SBMA chair Felicito Payumo to denounce the project. Zoocheck Canada said the show was never evaluated by the Committee on Animal Welfare.

"There is a considerable body of evidence that swim-with-the-dolphins programs are hazardous to the animals as well as to the human participants," Zoocheck said.

"Swim With The Whales"
Program Opens!
Elizabeth Marcelo
Inquirer News Service,
PDI Central Luzon Desk
5 March 2001

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT--The Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium has opened its "Swim with the Whales" program to paying patrons despite the absence of an environmental clearance certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"We see nothing wrong with that," Ameth de la Llana, officer-in-charge of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority ecology center, told the INQUIRER in a telephone interview."Swim with the Whales" is one of the programs featured in the SBME?s Subic Bay Ocean Adventure, which will showcase false killer whales, dolphins and fur seals.

Acting Environment Secretary Joemari Gerochi said on Tuesday that SBMA officials have agreed to require the SBME to obtain an ECC from the DENR for its Subic Bay Ocean Adventure project."We are not aware of this, but we will follow whatever SBMA tells us to do," SBME official Disraeli Santiago told the INQUIRER Thursday, before the blessing of the P286-million facility at Camayan Wharf here.