(File photo of San Vicente Long Beach)

A provincial lawmaker has expressed concern about what he described as a lack of effort and capacity on the part of local government units (LGU) and communities in managing marine protected areas (MPAs).

Board Member Ryan Maminta stated that Protected Area Management Boards (PAMBs) that have been set up to manage important coastal resources have not been doing enough to protect these resources.

“Nakikita natin, kulang pa rin talaga yung efforts dahil may board na itinatag pero hindi ito regularly nagmi-meet and nag-e-enforce noong mga nakalagay doon sa plano. So, ang question ng funding, enforcement, yun siguro yung isa sa mga pwede nating talakayin dito sa summit para mapaigting at mapalakas pa,” Maminta said.

Maminta was reacting to Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Romeo Cabungcal’s push to create a network of marine protected areas during the recent 2nd MPA summit. Cabungcal had proposed make one MPA network for the whole province of Palawan.

“Because of the consideration as to the location of different municipalities, we will be having a five-cluster MPA network,” he said, which led to the creation of the first three MPA networks.

“Sa ngayon, ang gumagana ay yung Calamianes MPAN composed of the towns of Busuanga, Coron, Culion, and Linapacan, and supported by the Fish Right Project. The second is the Northeast Palawan MPAN, ang partner organization natin dito is the WWF, composed of MPAs within the municipalities of Roxas, Araceli, Taytay, and El Nido,” Cabuncal noted.

For Southern Palawan, the MPA network is composed of the municipalities of Aborlan, Narra, Brooke’s Point, Sofronio Española, and Bataraza. .

Cabungcal also noted that other LGUs are already organizing their MPA networks. While those that are already in place, such as the fisheries management plan and enforcement mechanisms, are developing their sustainability plans.

“For the Calamianes MPAN, yung mga MPAs which are locally managed, hindi natin sinasama yung mga MPAs created under NIPAS, kasi meron yang structure and mobility funding itself, pero kasama sila sa network of MPAs in the province,” Cabuncal explained.

“Yung ating mga munisipyo has been allocating funding support for the operation and management. As I have made mention, yung mga nominees doon sa different categories, isa sa requirement is the funding allocation of the LGU, which dapat ay i-support nila na yun ay mayroong approved annual investment plan,” he added.

Maminta recalled that the Southern Palawan MPA Network was set during the first MPA summit in August 2019 through a memorandum with five LGUs, the provincial government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, and SmartSeas. The agreement led to the creation of Task Force Southern Palawan Initiative Dedication for Environment Protection and Management, or SPIDERMAN, with a mission to manage and protect the Southern Palawan MPA network.

At present, Maminta said they will engage the LGUs and the local communities in order to strengthen the management of MPA networks in different municipalities.

“Yung engagement ng provincial government, titingnan natin ito, bibisitahin yung may kinalaman doon sa southern Palawan. Sa southern Palawan, halos kumpleto na diyan. Yung west coast na lang, kasama yung Balabac, ang kailangang mabigyan ng additional na pagtutok doon sa mga declaration pa ng MPAs,” Maminta said.

“Siguro kami ni Board Member [Aris] Arzaga, we will visit yung MOA na pinirmahan noong 2019 kung saan na ba umabot. Kasi as far as I know, pondo lang ni Gov. yung gumagana doon e. kailangan nating mapagana ng husto yung network,” he added.


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