Negros shares experiences with Taal group
Negros shares experiences with Taal group
1st of two parts
BY: ERROL A. GATUMBATO
Members of the Protected Area Management Board from the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape in Batangas province were recently in Negros Occidental for an educational visit and management planning on protected area. Facilitated by the Tanggol Kalikasan, an environmental defense and conservation organization, the cross visit was aimed in gaining further insights on PA management. During this cross visit, the TVPL general management plan was also thoroughly deliberated and approved by the Taal Volcano Protected Area Management Board during its meeting at the scenic Mambucal Summer Resort.
Lawyer Alett Nunez of the Provincial Legal Office, on behalf of Gov. Isidro Zayco, welcomed the delegation, which included nine mayors out of the 14 local governments and other local officials covering the TVPL, officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, representatives from provincial government of Batangas and Pusod and other non-government and people’s organizations, and officers of the Tanggol Kalikasan led by Vida Gonzales and lawyers Ipat Luna, Asis Perez and Ronely Sheen.
Mayor Alfredo Maranon Jr. of Sagay City was invited to share insights on the initiatives of local government over the Sagay Marine
Reserve in northern Negros Occidental. SMR is one of the only 10 PAs with congressional approval, out of the more than 250 candidate protected areas all over the country. Unlike other PAs that the PAMB is chaired by the concerned DENR Regional Executive Director, SMR has entirely different management arrangement because the mayor acts as the PAMB chair, as mandated by the Congress. Similarly, the Protected Area Superintendent of the SMR is an employee of the local government and not DENR personnel. Maranon said that in spite that the act declaring SMR provides that annual budget from the national government shall be provided for the management of the PA, it has never been materialized to date. As such, Maranon claimed, the management of the SMR, including funding for personnel and resource protection and rehabilitation is solely provided by the city government, amounting to at least P 6,000,000.00 annually.
Mount Kanla-on Natural Park PASu Julie Rex Molavin also shared with the TVPL delegations how the management of MKNP had been sustained following the termination of the World Bank supported Conservation of Priority Protected Areas Project in 2002. He said that the CPPAP was instrumental in setting up the management and institutional arrangements in MKNP, such as the institutionalization of the PAMB and PASu Office, development of the first management plan, establishment of MKNP as a PA following the processes enunciated in the Philippines’ National Integrated Protected Areas System, and formation of people’s organizations.
Molavin added that CPPAP initiatives would have never been sustained if not for the support of local governments, NGOs and POs and the aggressive lobbying of the MKNP staff to have a budget from the national government. Although quite minimal compared to the need, Molavin said that MKNP is now receiving annual budget and has mobilized support from various groups in ensuring the protection of the area from illegal activities and the rehabilitation of degraded areas. The MKNP management zones have already been delineated on the ground, while updating of the MKNP management plan is now progressing.
Engr. Jun Leon Monterola of the Provincial Environment Management Office also imparted to the officials of TVPL the initiatives of the provincial government in the management of the Northern Negros Natural Park. He said that the province has long been initiating conservation measures in NNNP, not only in resource protection and rehabilitation but including livelihood and basic support services for forest dependent communities in the area. Monterola said that a proposal to have the management of the NNNP directly under the provincial government has been proposed. TO BE CONTINUED*
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