The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently renewed its partnership effort to promote conservation in El Nido.
The agreement was signed early this month between El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA) Superintendent Alexander E. Mancio and El Nido Mayor Nieves C. Rosento.
Under the agreement, the parties have resolved to implement and maintain programs aimed at protecting the town’s environment, including the establishment and maintenance of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), tree and mangrove seedling nurseries, scheduling regular coastal and sea cleanup activities, and cooperatively guarding and patrolling the seas and forests of El Nido.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu in a statement described the covenant as “the right step towards achieving sustainability in El Nido, one of the most beautiful and most biodiverse ecotourism destinations in the Philippines.”
“It is refreshing to see this level of commitment for the protection of our environment coming from our stakeholders. This partnership aims to implement and sustain ecotourism and other livelihood activities for the people of El Nido,” Cimatu said in a statement.
Signing the agreement with Mancio and Rosento were the respective chairmen of Barangays Bucana and Buena Suerte, as well as the president of the Malampaya Foundation, Inc. (MFI) and the people’s organizations Pagkakaisa Pagtutulungan Kalikasan Pakaingatan Ecotourism Service Cooperative (PPKPESC), and Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Magsasaka, Mangingisda, at Kababaihan Tungo sa Maunlad na Kinabukasan ng Pamayanan (SANMKAP).
Cimatu said the MFI will “train and provide livelihood programs for the people, while our local officials, together with the local government, will support them.”
The MFI provides livelihood and ecotourism training through its two flagship programs, the Barangay Aquatic Habitat and Underwater Regeneration Assistance (BAHURA), and the Livelihood Alternatives and Mariculture-Based Assistance Program (LAMBAT).
The BAHURA program helps local communities implement coastal resource management plans as well as environment-friendly alternative livelihood. Meanwhile, LAMBAT offers trainings to locals to help them acquire new skills, such as for environmentally-friendly mariculture or carpentry.
Cimatu said that the conservation agreements signed in El Nido go hand-in-hand with the mission of Task Force El Nido to save and protect the area, known for its beautiful islands, spotless beaches, crystal clear water, and towering limestone cliffs.
The task force is composed of the DENR, the Environmental Management Bureau, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, and the El Nido local government.
El Nido is part of the ENTMRPA, a 90,321-hectare key biodiversity area protected under Presidential Proclamation 32 signed by then president Joseph Estrada in 1998.