The governing board of the eight protected areas in Region 2 have approved the repair and improvement of ecotourism facilities with a total worth of P17.9 million.
In the special unified meeting conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Oct. 18-19 , the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) indorsed the resolutions approving the proposed infrastructure projects which include the improvement of information centers, protected area management offices, park ranger stations, and ecotourism facilities such as step ladders and railings, picnic sheds, hanging bridge and access roads.
The projects will be implemented starting December within the Palaui Island Protected Landscape and Seascape with a budget of P4.7 million and the Magapit Protected Landscape (P1.5M) in Cagayan; Tumauini Watershed Natural Park (P1.5M), Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (P1.3M) and Fuyot Spring Natural Park (P1.2M) in Isabela; Bangan Hill National Park (P4.5M), Casecnan Protected Landscape (P1.7M) and Dupax Watershed Forest Reserve (P1.5M) in Nueva Vizcaya.
The PAMB for the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape in Cagayan is yet to meet for the approval of the proposed rehabilitation and expansion of the visitor’s information center with a budgetary requirement of P1.5 million.
PAMB chairperson and DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan said the cost of improved facilities will be recouped through the collection of the visitors' entrance fees which will go back to the PAs for protection and development.
“We would like to create impact in the protected areas. Let us help improve our local economy through the promotion of ecotourism in the different municipalities,” Director Bambalan said.
The PAMB chair added that the suspension of ecotourism activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic provides opportunity for improvement of the facilities.
“We appreciate the support of the DENR central office to enable us to improve our facilities. Hopefully, when ecotourism is reopened next year, we have something new to offer to the public,” she said.
She assured the PAMB members that they will be regularly informed of the development of the projects.
The DENR has also allotted P1.7 million for the renovation of the information center at the Rogelio B. Baggayan Nature Park and Wildlife Center located at the Regional Government Center in Tuguegarao City. The center houses different flora and fauna in Region 2 for public education, research and other conservation-oriented purposes.#