LGUs assessed for 4-year marine conservation program

The Cebu Provincial Government joined RARE, an international nature conservation non-government organization, in the implementation of a 4-year program called Strengthening the Marine Protected Areas to Conserve Marine Key Biodivesity Areas (MKBAs) in the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS).

The partnership was formalized through a Memorandum of Agreement signed on Feb. 1.

After, the Province, represented by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), attended the team members’ workshop on Actual Site Assessment and Evaluation spearheaded by RARE on Mar. 7-9 at Hale Mana Beach Resort, Moalboal. Badian, Alegria and Moalboal.

The composite team, which is comprised of the TSPS-Protected Area Management Board, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource, Biodiversity Management Bureau, and the Province, assessed and evaluated the applicant-local government units in terms of the preparedness of their fisherfolk organization in managing the Marine Protected Area (MPA), the concreteness of their coastal and marine resources plan, including budget allocation, and their enforcement and management of their coastal and marine resources. These are part of the criteria set by RARE.

The same initiative was also done with Samboan, Ginatilan and Barili on Mar. 14, 15 and 16, respectively.

PENRO-CRM Officer William Villaver said that such information is crucial in selecting the final 15 LGUs along Tañon Strait, including the Negros Island Region, to be recipients of the program.

The final 15 LGUs will be assisted in enhancing the management system, including the financial aspect of their respective marine protected areas and marine protected area networks and in establishing an enabling policy framework for marine biodiversity conservation.

More LGUs will undergo assessment and evaluation that is scheduled after Holy Week in Sta Fe, Bantayan, San Remigio, Asturias, and Aloguinsan.

PENRO Officer-in-Charge Atty. Czareem Joseph U. Estella explained that this partnership is very beneficial as this complements with one of the 6-Key Development Agenda on environmental protection, climate change and disaster risk management under the administration of Gov. Hilario P. Davide III.

RARE is the partner of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) in the implementation of the said program that started in August 2015. PENRO Correspondent Timi-Lou Q. Manalili