Residents, government officials, civic groups, and environmentalists in El Nido, Palawan have renewed their commitment to protect and strengthen the natural resources of the island and work together towards the sustainability of one of the Philippines’ most prized tourism destinations.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA) Superintendent Alexander Mancio and El Nido Mayor Nieves Rosento signed the renewal of the Conservation Agreement for El Nido.
“It is refreshing to see this level of commitment for the protection of our environment coming from our stakeholders,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.
“This covenant that our officials signed, together with the local government, non-government organizations, and people’s organizations, is the right step toward achieving sustainability in El Nido, one of the most beautiful and most biodiverse ecotourism destinations in the Philippines,” the DENR chief added.
Signing the agreement with Mancio and Rosento were Malampaya Foundation, Inc. (MFI) President Belinda Racela, Barangay Bucana Chairman Aracel Bacolod, Barangay Buena Suerte Chairman Ricky Ballena, and the people’s organizations Pagkakaisa Pagtutulungan Kalikasan Pakaingatan Ecotourism Service Cooperative (PPKPESC) of Brgy. Buena Suerte, and Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Magsasaka, Mangingisda, at Kababaihan Tungo sa Maunlad na Kinabukasan ng Pamayanan (SANMKAP) of Brgy. Bucana.
PPKPESC was represented by its chairman, Policarpio Ramos, Jr., while SANMKAP was led by its president, Plenie Candelario.
“This partnership aims to implement and sustain ecotourism and other livelihood activities for the people of El Nido. MFI will train and provide livelihood programs for the people, while our local officials, together with the local government, will support them,” Cimatu said.
This partnership aims to implement and sustain ecotourism and other livelihood activities for the people of El Nido.
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.
Under the agreement, the parties also resolved to implement and maintain programs aimed at protecting the environment, including the establishment and maintenance of Materials Recovery Facilities, tree and mangrove seedling nurseries, scheduling regular coastal and sea cleanup activities, and cooperatively guarding and patrolling the seas and forests of El Nido.
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 El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, a 90,321-hectare key biodiversity area protected under Presidential Proclamation 32 signed by then president Joseph Estrada in 1998.