A view from Kayabsab Island in Barangay Talaga, Cagayancillo, Palawan. (Photo courtesy of WPU-TK-IEG)

Tanggol Kalikasan (TK) and Western Philippines University (WPU) assisted the municipality of Cagayancillo in the finalization of its marine protected area (MPA) management plan, during a three-day monitoring visit that culminated on March 13, 2022.

Part of the visit is the conduct of a training-workshop attended by local government officials, law enforcement agencies, including the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, and local Bantay-Dagat, along with representatives of civic organizations, who helped in finalizing the proposed MPA management plan for the municipality.

Among other issues identified by the participants related to coastal resource management and law enforcement, were insufficient funds, the intrusion of illegal fishers from other provinces, and the conversion of some parts of the designated MPAs to seaweed farms for the livelihood of the locals.

“The livelihood of the communities is indeed one of the issues that we are trying to address right now,” Municipal Administrator Jotham Tapalla said.

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“I believe that political will and the initiative of the LGU can make a difference in the management of our MPAs given our limited resources,” Tapalla added.

The finalized framework will be presented to the barangays hosting the nine marine reserves in the municipality. “It will be their basis for crafting their respective MPA management plan, to help improve the protection and conservation of their marine ecosystem,” environmental planner Reagan Venturillo said.

Venturillo, faculty of the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Environmental Sciences of WPU, served as the resource speaker during the training-workshop on sustainable environmental practices of fishers and facilitated the finalization of the MPA framework for Cagayancillo.

The municipality is a recipient of a financial grant from TK, a non-governmental organization with support from the U.S. Department of the Interior – International Technical Assistance Program. The financial assistance was used to re-establish the municipality’s two deactivated MPAs in barangays Talaga and Mampio.

A monitoring team from WPU-TK-Institute of Environmental Governance was joined by officers from the municipal agriculture office, municipal planning and development council office, and the environmental law enforcement arm of Cagayancillo, during the monitoring visits at various marine reserves of the municipality.

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