The Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental has just been named a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
During a session in Qatar on Monday, delegates of the World Heritage Committee from 21 countries, including the Philippines, voted to inscribe the 16,000-hectare mountain in eastern Mindanao in the World Heritage list.
According to the UNESCO, Mount Hamiguitan was proclaimed a World Heritage Site because it “showcases terrestrial and aquatic habitats at different elevations, and includes threatened and endemic flora and fauna species.”
Mt. Hamiguitan : Forming a north-south running mountain ridge along the Pujada Peninsula in the southeastern part of the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary has an elevation range of 75-1,637 m above sea level, and provides critical habitat for a range of plant and animal species. The property showcases terrestrial and aquatic habitats at different elevations, and includes threatened and endemic flora and fauna species, eight of which are found only at Mount Hamiguitan. These include critically endangered trees, plants and the iconic Philippine Eagle and Philippine Cockatoo.
In a separate statement, the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines meanwhile described Mount Hamiguitan as a “natural treasure” and a “national pride.”
Mount Hamiguitan is the Philippines’ sixth World Heritage Site. The others are: Tubbataha Reef Natural Park in Palawan; baroque churches in Manila, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Iloilo; Rice Terraces in the Cordillera Region; Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park; and Vigan City in Ilocos Sur.