DENR-XI conducts Protected Areas benchmarking

To learn more about the protected areas of Region 7 and promote as well some of the protected areas of Region XI, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) had its benchmarking of Protected Areas (PA) operations and ecotourism programs featuring the Apo Island Protected Landscape (AIPLS) and Seascape and the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park (BTLNP).

Headed by DENR-XI Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco, the team from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Davao de Oro and some members of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape went to the said PAs to know more of the best practices, strategies and experiences in terms of operations, ecotourism, stakeholders engagement and biodiversity conservation.

“The responsibility of protecting and conserving our Protected Areas is not of the DENR alone but of everybody. In managing these areas, we encounter different challenges the reason why we are conducting this benchmarking of PAs so that PAMB members can also see and understand the different strategies we make and the efforts that we do in order to protect and conserve our protected areas,” RED Evasco emphasized during the program.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) of Negros Oriental Moreno S. Tagra presented to Region XI team the profile and best practices of both BTLNP and AIPLS as he is also the concurrent Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) of both PAs.

In Negros Oriental, Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao are called the Twin Lakes of Sibulan which are two of the most visited tourist spots in Negros Oriental.

According to PENRO Tagra, Balinsasayao came from the word “balin” which means plenty and “sayao” which refers to the glossy swiftlet, a native bird that inhabits the area.

BTLNP can be considered as one of the best-managed terrestrial protected areas in the country.

And like Mabini PLS, BLTNP was legislated by RA 7586 as amended by RA 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Act of 2018 comprising the 94 protected areas added to the NIPAS.

On the other hand, Apo Island is called a jewel of the underworld which is known to have hundreds of fish species and other marine life.

The island is part of the Municipality of Dauin, Negros Oriental, nested in a private cove with rock formations.

It is known to offer a perfect experience on underwater activities such as snorkeling and diving and has also been rated as one of the best dive sites in the world.

AIPLS also have successful coral rehabilitation projects which led to the restoration of its degraded coral reef ecosystem.

Moreover, an abandoned fish pond thereat was believed to be the contributory factor for the abundance of seaweeds which serves a forage for Green Sea and Hawksbill turtles.

The high number of marine turtles taking refuge on the island, paved the way for its ecotourism program.

Region XI team also shared the best practices they have done and the unique experiences they had when it came to managing among its PAs like Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascapes (MPLS), Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP) and Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife and Sanctuary (with reports from Clint Michael Cleofe of PENRO Davao de Oro.