Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Assistant Director Dr. Antonio C. Manila welcomes participants to the First Philippine Cave and Karst Forum held Nov. 9-10, 2016 at the National Museum in Manila.  Dr. Manila stressed the need to raise public awareness and understanding of caves and their resources to address the threats that endanger the cave ecosystem, such as increased demand for recreational sites, treasure hunting, pollution, illegal collection of cave resources, rapid urbanization, and lack of specific statutory protection.  According to him, caves are homes to specialized mineral formations, troglobites or species that live permanently in the dark environment of caves, and bodies of water such as cave rivers and pools. ###