Local chief executives in the province of Romblon expressed their full support and pledge of commitment for the protection and conservation of protected areas within their jurisdiction during the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) Meetings of Mt. Guiting-guiting Natural Park (MGGNP) in Sibuyan Island and CALSANAG Watershed Forest Reserve (CWFR) in Tablas Island on October 29 and 31, respectively.
Following his earlier site visits, Department of Environment and Natural Resources MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry A. Adornado, commended the strong and effective collaboration of the Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) and the local stakeholders in the management of protected areas.
“Such cooperation reflects that the communities within MGGNP and CWFR demonstrate high level of consciousness on the importance of protected areas, as well as the benefits derived from the continued preservation of these ecosystems,” the Director said during the meetings.
The Mount Guiting-guiting Natural Park in Sibuyan Island covers an area of 15,515.22 hectares and is situated within three municipalities (Magdiwang, San Fernando, Cajidiocan) and 17 barangays. It houses various endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. It is also dubbed as the Galapagos of Asia for its endemism and has one of the densest forest ever recorded, with natural water systems supplying irrigation to farms, mini-hydro plants and potable water. MGGNP is also one of the protected areas legislated under the Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018.
A ceremonial signing of Memorandum of Agreement took place between DENR MIMAROPA and the LGUs, as Magdiwang Mayor Dr. Arthur Tansiongco, San Fernando Mayor Salem Tansingco and Cajidiocan Mayor Nicasio Ramos pledged to provide financial support amounting to P500, 000.00 per municipality every year, for the conservation and protection activities of MGGNP. This financial support will prioritize hiring of forest guards, training of tour guides and harmonization of protected area management and ancestral domain plans.
Meanwhile, the PAMB Meeting of CWFR was graced by Congressman Eleandro Jesus Madrona, Board Member Robert Maulion who represented Governor Jose Riano, the three chief executives covering CWFR, namely Mayor Marietta Babera of Calatrava, Mayor Arsenio Gadon of San Andres and Mayor Esteban Madrona of San Agustin; and Romblon State University (RSU) President Arnulfo de Luna. DENR MIMAROPA, LGUs and various stakeholders ceremonially forged the Pledge of Commitment to exemplify their full support to the endeavors for the conservation of CWFR.
CALSANAG Watershed Forest Reserve in Tablas Island, is an initial component proclaimed under Presidential Proclamation No. 2186 on April 29, 1982.
It covers an area of 2,670 hectares and is situated within three municipalities (Calatrava, San Andres and San Agustin) and nine barangays.
CWFR supports six major river systems and is home to a number of threatened species of birds and other flora and fauna. It also provides opportunities for ecotourism and scientific researches, and is regarded as a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA). CWFR is currently in the process of establishment as a legislated protected area through presidential proclamation and congressional enactment.