The famous Palaui Island in Cagayan province is now open for tourists after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Earlier today, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, local government and other members of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) led the ribbon cutting which signaled the reopening of the 8,048-hectare Palaui Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (PIPLS) in Brgy. San Vicente of Sta. Ana town. The PAMB is the decision-making body of the PIPLS, a protected area legislated by virtue of Republic Act 11038.
DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan said the reopening of the PIPLS will boost the economy and will help the country recover from the effects of the public health emergency.
The PAMB chairperson has reported that at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the DENR provided one million peso fund for emergency employment to about 160 families in the island.
"Last year, our department initiated the improvement of facilities in PIPLS with a budget of 4.7 million pesos," she added.
With the presence of local officials, the Cagayan Valley environment chief also appealed for the creation of a municipal environment and natural resources officer position in the municipality. "With the influx of tourists, there should be an office dedicated to manage our environment and natural resources here," she explained.
Per DENR statistics, the marine protected area has 102-hectare mangrove, coral reef of 1,008 ha, and 472 ha of seagrass.
During the ceremony, DENR provincial chief Eliseo Mabasa read the health and safety protocols that must be observed by the visitors, boat operators and service providers.
As required by the PAMB, vaccination card must be presented upon registration. This will ensure the safety of island-goers and the local residents.
While at the protected area, proper garbage disposal shall be observed, and collection of wildlife is prohibited. Vandalism, bonfires, and throwing of cigarette butts shall not be allowed.
RA11038 defines protected landscapes and seascapes as areas of national significance which are charactertized by the harmonious interaction of man and land and water while providing opportunities for public enjoyment through recreation, tourism, and other economic activities.
The PIPLS is within the jurisdiction of community environment and natural resources office of Aparri headed by For. Joselito Razon.#