As part of SM Olongapo’s community service through the SM Cares program, some sixty five (65) Olive Ridley Sea Turtle hatchlings were released in Brgy. La Paz San Narciso, Zambales on March 22, 2015. SM was joined by the ‘Katimpuyog’ organization chaired by LaRainne A. Sarmiento with the support from former Comelec Commissioner Atty. Rene Sarmiento, parochial priest Rev. Fr. Roque Villanueva, Municipal Councilors, Barangay Officials and Pawikan Rangers.
According to Katimpuyog Chair Sarmiento, eggs in the past were hunted to be sold in the public market . But now with the presence of volunteers, “poaching” has ended. These volunteer fisherfolks a.k.a. “La Paz Rangers” organized the town-based PawiCare, a pawikan (sea turtle) protection and conservation program that involve a thorough sea turtle watch by the rangers.
SM was the first entity to be invited in the Pawicare sea turtle release activity. Sarmiento expressed her utmost gratitude to SM for being part of the noble activity and efforts to save the endangered marine turtles.
Pawikan is on the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora, having become endangered because of poaching, slaughter, blast fishing, illegal trade and pollution.
The Pawicare program aims to help conserve and protect the marine species and thereby help maintain the ecological balance in the fishing grounds.
SM’s participation is a manifestation that it serves not only as the retail industry leader, but also acts as a catalyst towards positive change, leading by example when it comes to corporate social responsibility through its SM Cares program.(PR-SMOL)