DENR-PENRO Dinagat Personnel attend Dinagat Islands Conservation Program (DICP) Planning/Workshop

           

            In order to get support and potential partnership for the Dinagat Islands Conservation Program (DICP) from other institutions and with the aim of the governance of Cong. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao to press15 2016align all the programs to the conservation within the next three years, a “Planning/Workshop for Dinagat Island Conservation Program” was conducted last July 22, 2016 held at Banapple Restaurant, Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.

The main objective of the planning/workshop is to define the next three years of Cong. Arlene “Kaka” J. Bag-ao, Congressional Representative of the Lone District of Dinagat Islands, focusing on conservation. Furthermore, it intends to the familiarization with the mandates of the five institutions (DENR, PTFCF, BALAOD-Mindanaw, Office of the Congress Representative, Dinagat LGU’s), to define a road map particularly its elements for the next three years, to identify municipalities that should be prioritized for funding where identification will be based on the viability and preparedness of the municipalities and not on their technicalities only, to identify possible interventions, projects, and assistance that will be given to the communities and LGUs, and passage of a bill for the Dinagat Islands Conservation Program.

Aside from DENR-PENRO Dinagat the other participants of the said planning/workshop were from Philippine Tropical Forest and Conservation Foundation (PTFCF), BALAOD Mindanaw, M/BLGU’s, and Congressional Office of Cong. Kaka and they were all welcomed and assisted by the Congressional Office Secretariat. A total of 28 participants comprised of; 12 personnel from DENR-PENRO Dinagat , 7 personnel from the LGUs, 7 personnel from the Congressional Office and 2 personnel from the Philippine Tropical Forest and Conservation Foundation.

The workshop commenced at 10:45 in the morning and was officially opened with an acknowledgement of the participants and a welcome message given by Cong. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao. Furthermore, she mentioned the major milestones of the collaborative efforts between the Congressional Office, DENR-PENRO Dinagat Islands, BALAOD Mindanaw and PTFCF aside from their regular programs and mandates. She highlighted the establishment of the Ten Dinagat Islands Conservation Sites of which the initial data were kept by DENR-PENRO Dinagat Islands, and also, the public awareness on the conservation efforts. Moreover, she said that the BALAOD Mindanaw already worked with the barangays that are included in the 10 sites, thus, they are already familiar to the people living in the area. Also, the PTFCF has investments to some of the barangays in Tubajon. PTFCF makes partners not in the government but either in the NGOs or POs where there can possibly implement counterpart projects in the government projects similar to the conservation programs of DENR.

Congresswoman Bag-ao as well mentioned that for the next three years, all programs must be aligned to conservation. It could be infrastructure, roads leading to tourist destinations and roads leading to historical sites. The programs of the allied LGUs should be connected, based, compliment or parallel in a conservation program initially. All the contributions of the five institutions are essential to the direction of conservation of Dinagat Islands.

She also talked about the objectives of the planning/workshop. One of those is to be familiar with the mandates of the five institutions (DENR, PTFCF, BALAOD-Mindanaw, Office of the Congress Representative, Dinagat LGU’s). She added that they need to see how the five institutions work together concentrating to the 10 sites and what the roles of each institution in every site are.

During the Presentation of Dinagat Island Conservation Program (DICP) Briefer, Mr. Mario L. Eludo was tasked to discuss the status of the DENR conservation program. He elaborately discussed the Dinagat Islands Legal Landscape and Dinagat Islands Conservation Program (DICP). The 10 sites were also mentioned as requested by Cong. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao to refresh the participants of the 10 sites, namely: 1) Panamaon Watershed; 2) Esperanza Watershed; 3) Loreto Watershed; 4) Mount Redondo-Cambinliw; 5) Tubajon Watershed; 6) Libjo Watershed (Paragua Reserve); 7) Mount Palhi; 8) Manoligao Watershed; 9) Cuarenta Watershed; and 10) Western Dinagat.

Thereafter, Forester Romel B. Arbolonio presented the Logical Framework, DICP Annual Accomplishment CY 2015, and DICP Activities for CY 2016. During the presentation of the Logical Framework, Cong. Bag-ao queried the possible relationship between the framework and the existing programs of the DENR, how much investment in every program and how it is being related to conservation. Consequently, she said that the regular activities shall be geared to the conservation program; the DENR-PENRO Dinagat Islands programs, projects and activities shall be directed towards conservation.

In response to Cong. “Kaka” Bag-ao’s query, Forester Nathaniel E. Racho enumerated the regular activities of the DENR-PENRO Dinagat Islands such as resource conservation, climate change adaptation with a total target of 984 has. covering six municipalities and has a budget of around 20 million; resource protection under the Enforcement Section with a budget of around 1 million, and that involves deputation of DENR Officer, trainings and their new program LAWIN; program for coastal management under SCREMP with a budget less than a million; Land titling activity in agricultural and residential lands; and Watershed management with a budget not yet separated under regular activity, however it is incorporated in the DICP as watershed characterization and vulnerability assessment. Efforts are made in order to merge the regular activities to the conservation by consulting it with the central office and as per advice; it will be included in GAA under the DICP in the next year.

At some point in Atty. Jose A. Canivel’s presentation of Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, representative of Philippine Forest Conservation Foundation, said that: they support projects that aim to conserve, protect and enhance the forests in the Philippines; their mandates are to provide grants and provide technical assistance; they support activities such as the establishment of nursery, tree planning, seedling maintenance and forest monitoring; they also support livelihood and alternative biodiversity friendly or alternative livelihood for the community; and aside from direct forest conservation grants, they also give support to the “bantay-gubat” activity and provide equipment and allowances for patrolling. Then he made clear that LGUs can benefit from their grants through exceptional circumstances, such as; 1) no other NGO or PO in the area; 2) strengthen the NGO’s or PO’s in the area.

Furthermore, he cited reasons for investments in Dinagat Islands. These includes: uniqueness of Dinagat Islands Biodiversity; governance of Cong. Kaka; DENR conservation commitment; and conservation as a different mode of development. He also mentioned that there is a need to present programs alternative to mining, present livelihood opportunities to the operated areas and present alternative modes of governance. He further added that they can provide initial capitalization or enhance home stay by facilitating trainings for ecotourism guides. He also introduced the research tourism where researchers or students can explore Dinagat Islands to study on its floras and faunas. Within 3 years, he explained that their vision is to have an institutionalized integrated conservation development program with community based ecotourism or tourism related activities by giving importance to the incentives for forest patrolling and monitoring and giving support to the community members who are trained, capable and equipped to do the forest patrolling. That in the end we will have successful and sustainable community enterprises.

Cong. “Kaka” Bag-ao presented a proposal on the subject of establishing 3-4 log cabins out of confiscated logs instead of home stay and will be managed by the community together with the DENR. Additionally, PTFCF could provide regular especially skilled tour guides as their preparatory fund.

Mr. Ritz Lee B. Santos III, Policy Advocacy Officer of Balaod Mindanaw presented the objectives of their institution, their proposals or possible contributions to Dinagat conservation as well as their reasons for possible partnership to other institutions. Their existing programs, with the support of TROCAIRE, are livelihood with a connection to home bill and legally empowerment in the 3 municipalities such as Loreto, Tubajon and Libjo. They focus on the delineation in the area and watershed management in Loreto and Tubajon. He gave assurance to receive support for the conservation program in Dinagat from two of international funding institutions such as TROCAIRE and JOHANITER.  BALAOD Mindanaw’s focus for the first year is on the establishment of fish sanctuary in the 6 barangays in Libjo and management of watershed in Libjo for its second year.

The following were the issues and concerns raised after the presentations of each representative: the framework of titling is based on the number of hectares. Until the land titling is not yet merged to the conservation program, the only thing to do is issue titles to the potential crop lands; and most of the programs are focused on the conservation and protection yet no equal importance given on the restoration.

To address the said issues and concerns the following agreements/recommendations were made: 1) The logical framework of DENR-PENRO Dinagat must be aligned towards the conservation of the whole Province; 2) Include the National Greening Program in the conservation program; 3) The land (titles) must be in line with DICP, change the concept of the framework and the funds must be based on the number of hectares that must be conserved that is possibly no private titles to be issued; 4) Identification of areas; 5) Redirection of DENR Programs in line with DICP; 6) Highlight or state in the report the efforts made by PTFCF on the assessment of endemic flora and fauna to give weight unto the report; 7) Make 3 log cabins out of confiscated logs; 8) Highlight the FLORA and FAUNA in the inventory that was validated/recognized by accredited institution for the reliability of the document; 9) Incorporate the outputs of the assessments for the formulation of the law in making Dinagat as a Conservation Area; 10) There will be representatives that will be coming from DENR, LGUs, PTFCF, and Balaod Mindanao during the visit to PNPI; 11) Create programs for restoration zones; 12) Three areas for the establishment of log cabins or conservation stations are Bonsai Forest, Bababu Lake and Paragua Mountain Range; and 13) The DICP Road Map should be leading towards a passage of a Bill for Dinagat Islands Conservation Program.

Before the workshop ended, it was agreed on to hold the next activity on August 01, 2016 at Sta. Cruz, San Jose, Dinagat Islands. The write shop will focus on the immediate programs such as the proposals of the establishment of the log cabins and the creation of road map for conservation in Dinagat. The output of the Road map will be a draft bill of congress for the Dinagat conservation program. Cong “Kaka Bag-ao said that the three events for 2016 are as such: i) writeshop; ii) conference to be hosted by the Sanggunniang Panlalawigan; and iii) launching of the 3 conservation stations.

The workshop was formally closed at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon by a message from Agapito T. Patubo, OIC PENR Officer, commending the effort of every institution in their cooperation for the realization of the proposed conservation program.

© 2016 DENR-PENRO-Dinagat, Province of Dinagat Islands. All Rights Reserved. Monday, 19 August 2019