On February 7, 2008 the Supreme Court of the Philippines ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Energy to comment on a certiorari petition filed for baleen and toothed whales, dolphins, porpoises including the Irrawaddy Dolphins, and other cetacean species in the Tañon Strait to stop oil exploration by Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (JAPEX) in the protected waterway. The strait serves as a marine wildlife reserve that provides grounds for breeding, feeding and resting to 11 species of marine mammals. The court was asked to recognize the petitioners as "Filipino mammals" with constitutional rights.
JAPEX subsequently abandoned oil exploration in the area, saying that initial drilling had shown lack of commercial opportunity. However the Supreme Court case continued.
^Presidential Proclamation No.1234 s. 1998 of 27 May 1998DECLARING THE TAÑON STRAIT SITUATED IN THE PROVINCES OF CEBU, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL AND NEGROS ORIENTAL AS A PROTECTED AREA PURSUANT TO RA 7586 (NIPAS ACT OF 1992) AND SHALL BE KNOWN AS TAÑON STRAIT PROTECTED SEASCAPE. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
^"G.R. No. 180771". Republic of the Philippines, Supreme Court, Manila. RESIDENT MARINE MAMMALS OF THE PROTECTED SEASCAPE TAÑON STRAIT, E.G., TOOTHED WHALES, DOLPHINS, PORPOISES, AND OTHER CETACEAN SPECIES, JOINED IN AND REPRESENTED HEREIN BY HUMAN BEINGS GLORIA ESTENZO RAMOS, ET AL. VS. SECRETARY ANGELO REYES, ET AL. G.R. NO. 181527 - CENTRAL VISAYAS FISHERFOLK DEVELOPMENT CENTER (FIDEC), ET AL. VS. SECRETARY ANGELO REYES, ET AL. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2014.