Friday, July 29, 2011

Municipality initiates public-private partnership to protect coastal resources

Municipality initiates public-private partnership to protect coastal resources
By Fayette C. Riñen
Philippine Information Agency
July 29, 2011

CEBU CITY, July 29 (PIA) -- A coastal municipality in Cebu has initiated partnership among government stakeholders and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) to manage its coastal resources and ensure food security for local folks.

The Municipality of Cordova recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the PBSP, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the management, development and protection of its aquatic resources within its municipal waters.

The MoU was recently signed between Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy, PBSP’s LINC-CRMG Program Manager Marivic Abello, DENR’s Integrated Coastal Resource Management Project Head Joselito Alcaria and Ocean Care Advocates, Inc. (OCAI) Administrator Mario Marababol at the municipal hall of Cordova.

Under the MoU, PBSP will assist Cordova in building up the capacities of local government units on the implementation of measures towards the conservation of coastal resources, food security and livelihood generation for coastal communities.

With the MoU, the town will also get the support of BFAR, DENR and OCAI on the enforcement of the Integrated Coastal Resource Management Project (ICRMP) to ensure sustainable management of coastal resources.

The agreement is anchored on PBSP’s Linking Initiatives for Collaborative Coastal Resource Management and Governance Program (LINC-CRMG), which has already gained ground in the provinces of Bohol, Guimaras, Samar and Southern Leyte.

Funded by the European Union, the program aims to achieve effective and sustainable coastal resource management and contribute to poverty reduction through the rehabilitation of the Visayas coastal zones, enhancement of alternative livelihood to further prevent use of coastal resources, and enforcement of fishery laws by enabling local government units through the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Councils (FARMCs), according to a statement from the PBSP.

FARMCs are mandated by the government to oversee coastal resource regeneration and look into the improvement of the fisheries sector in the local level.

The councils are also responsible for drafting the coastal resource management plans and programs that include aspects such as the increase of income of communities living along the coastal zones, management of critical habitats, activities to lessen fishing pressure, enforcement of fishery laws and ecotourism.

Each council in the 13 barangays of Cordova will help monitor illegal activities in their specific areas which largely contributed to the rapid degradation of Cordova’s coastal waters.

“There will be continuous trainings of the FARMCs to strengthen their leadership and systems to respond to the needs of coastal barangays,” LINC-CRMG Program Officer for Lapu-Lapu and Cordova Rei Cabalquinto stated.

Cabalquinto added that Cordova still faces challenges such as providing alternative livelihood projects to augment family income and reduce pressure in the town’s coastal zones.

Furthermore, most fisherfolk organizations in Cordova still lack the skills needed to implement and enforce fishery laws, Cabalquinto said.

At present, the LINC-CRMG Program is advocating for a fisherfolk’s registration and creation of more information materials to help educate the coastal communities on effective coastal resource management.

The LINC-CRMG will run for two years and will cover 10 coastal barangays of Cordova. (FCR with Reggie Marie B. Barrientos of PBSP/PIA 7-Cebu)