Community organizers of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) are pushing to raise awareness in mangrove conservation and sustainable eco-tourism in Sitio Bukid-Bukid, Barangay Rio Tuba, Bataraza.
In an interview, community organizer Vannesa Apilan said that as a result of their three-day training in sustainable mangrove rehabilitation and development and management in mining covered areas, they are proposing the awareness project for the community.
Apilan said that part of the training was mangrove tourism management and wine-making.
She said that it is important to immediately start utilizing the resources including the improvement of the mangrove area in Sitio Bukid-Bukid to have an eco-tourism livelihood.
“Developed na rin yong area. Kailangan na lang siya ma-improve kasi kapag may mga bisita kami, pwede na nila maikot. Sa ngayon wala pa na eco-tourism dito sa mangrove kaya ‘yon ang gusto i-push ng grupo namin,” she said.
Apilan said that their delegation was enlightened that there are many things that could be done with mangrove as a livelihood source like soft-shell mangrove, cultivating fish in the fishpond, and crab fattening.
Considering barangay Rio Tuba is an impact area of mining, putting an eco-tourism site will be a good idea for tourism promotion, mangrove conservation, and augmenting livelihood income.
Her team, composed of her co-attendees Ronnie Falogme, RTNMC forester; Analyn Hasim, environment officer; Banjo Carorocan, forester; and Melissa Didik, RTNMC community organizer has initially estimated a budget of P38-million for the project.
Apilan said that the proposed budget is still subject to changes.
“Ang proposal ay ibibigay din sa community at least meron na silang mapagkukunan ng livelihood. Pina-practice na rin na magkaroon ng mangrove activities at saka nakaka-tulong din siya sa community, nakaka-prevent ng baha,” he said.
Giving some information from their proposal, Apilan said that their team would put a riverboat and a bridge that will be constructed within the scope of the area.
“Dito kasi sa (sitio) Bukid-Bukid, community mismo ‘yong nag-initiate na gusto nila ng eco-tourism na ganito. Isa sa mga hiniling nila sa company ay matulungan sila na ma-develop ‘yong area, gusto rin nila na maging eco-tourism site din,” she said.
The training was conducted from November 3 to 9 and was spearheaded by Nickel Asia Corporation to its six mining subsidiaries including RTNMC.