The Protected Area Governing Board for Tumauini Watershed Natural Park (TWNP) has gained this year over 6.7 million income and revenues accrued to its Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF).
Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) chairperson and Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 2 lauded the active members of PAMB-TWNP for generating the biggest IPAF among the 14 Protected Areas (PAs) in the region.
In the recently held PAMB-TWNP meeting held at the New Amphitheater, Local Government Unit (LGU) of Tumauini, Isabela, RED Bambalan leads the Board in the review of IPAF Work and Financial Plan (WFP) for implementation.
“If we want to have development projects that would protect and maintain the natural biological and physical diversities within the TWNP, we need to responsibly manage its financing mechanism through the use of IPAF,” RED Bambalan said.
In her presentation, Protected Area Superintendent Luz Soriano said the IPAF was sourced out from fees on entrance and rental of facilities; and Special Use Agreement in Protected Areas.
She said 75% of the IPAF total amount will be used for the operation of the PA in accordance with existing rules and regulations, as provided in Section 16 of Republic Act (RA) 11038 known as “Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018”.
Under the said law, all PAs shall establish a trust fund to be known as the IPAF to finance projects and sustain the operation of the national park.
“Disbursement of the PA-Retained Income Account deposited in any government bank within the locality shall be used solely for the protection, environmental administration, management of the PA, and implementation of duly approved projects of the PAMB,” RA 11038 reads.
For her part, Tumauini Mayor Venus Bautista said the LGU has been supportive to DENR programs particularly in the management of the TWNP. “As conservation partner, we are always here to support for the protection of our natural park,” she said.
In the meeting, the Board approved to endorse through resolutions the WFP specifically on hiring of park rangers and purchase of equipment and vehicle; issuance of official receipts to separate the collection of entrance and environmental fees; and crafting of guidelines on park operation such as new rate of collection of fees and charges, giving discounts to qualified tourists, following health and safety protocol, among others.
Development of biodiversity friendly enterprises as livelihood opportunities for villagers covering the park will also be included in the WFP subject to review of PA ecotourism plan and further deliberation of PAMB members.
The TWNP, known for its clean and majestic Magoli River, has opened to tourists last March 11, this year during the inauguration of picnic sheds and ticket booth ecotourism facilities funded by the Biodiversity Management Bureau.
Aside from the Magoli River, the Board will further discuss collection of fees to other attractions present in the park such as loose spring, blue lagoon, angarilla river, and pallacot and kagumatan waterfalls.
“We have to put value on our natural resources. If we want to enjoy the wonders of nature, then we should have the willingness to pay for these ecological services,” the regional environment chief emphasized.
The PAMB also approved the endorsement of Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau Research Study on Water Balance Estimation of Selected Watersheds in Luzon Island, Philippines, to be conducted within the TWNP. This is an an important tool to assess the current status and trends in water resource availability in the area over a specific period of time.
Updates on projects from Philnew Hydropower Corporation for its commitment on plantation establishment involving concerned People’s Organizations; and National Irrigation Administration for the construction of Tumauini River Multi-purpose Project, were also presented.
The PAMB meeting was also attended by PENRO Orly Cariazo, CENRO Dionisio Deundo, Conservation and Development Division Chief Eric Pasion, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Lucky Limbauan, representatives from other government agencies and non-government organizations, concerned barangay officials, and other DENR and LGU Tumauini officials and personnel.#