The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) for Palaui Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (PIPLS) is eyeing for more effective ecotourism management following the benchmarking activity at the Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) in Alaminos City, Pangasinan.
The PIPLS located in Sta. Ana, Cagayan was reopened to tourists on March 8 after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“We immersed the PAMB membes to the Hundred Islands for us to gauge how the area became a highly-recognized ecotourism zone since it is similar with the Palaui Island in terms of accessibility,” said DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan.
The PAMB chairperson added that the board in one of its meetings identified the need to generate good practices and lessons on protected area management.
“The practices and protocols on boat deployment, tourists arrival management, and ensuring the protection and safety of visitors will be adopted by the board for PIPLS,” said Director Bambalan.
During the activity, the PAMB members witnessed several developments and ecotourism activities in the HINP that attract tourists and bring high revenue to the city.
“Ecotourism is a huge industry. You just have to put the right development and activities and attract the right visitors,” said City Mayor Arth Bryan Celeste who graced the activity. “We just have to make sure that the preservation and development in the protected area are balanced,” he added.
The HINP is co-managed by the DENR and the City Government of Alaminos.
“The infrastructure established in the islands underwent stringent processes such as securing environmental compliance certificate, and ecological and geo-hazard assessments,” explained Chester Casil, community environment and natural resources officer of Wester Pangasinan.
Among the ecological management efforts for HINP as discussed by Tourism Officer Miguel Sison include the "Basura Mo, Iuwi Mo" program, partnership with civil society groups and private companies for regular cleanups, and strict implementation of environmental and wildlife protection laws through its Task Force ISLA (Isang daang pulo, Sagipin Laban sa Abuso).
As forward actions, the PAMB members have agreed to enhance the PA's ecotourism management plan and to adopt the projects implemented in HINP by the city government and DENR Ilocos Region for effective protection of the Palaui Island.
The board will also polish the guidelines for solid waste management, and to strategize for the safety and protection of tourists.#