Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Cagayan Valley has emphasized the importance of valuing the environment and natural resources as one strategic initiative to counter environmental threats and abuses.
In a unified PAMB Meeting held yesterday at the Lower Magat Eco-tourism Park in Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya, Director Bambalan said in her opening message, "We have to strengthen the operation of each protected area to ensure its protection and conservation."
The PAMB chairperson lauded the support and cooperation of the Board constituting the Bangan Hill National Park, Salinas Natural Monument, Casecnan Protected Landscape and Seascape, and Dupax Watershed Forest Reserve.
These Protected Areas (PAs) in the province contribute the region's enhanced watershed resources and sustainable ecotourism serving as one of the major solutions to climate change.
Part of park protection and conservation measures within the PAs are development and improvement of facilities and natural attractions that tourists would enjoy such as view deck, garden and forest landscapes, creative pathways, information center, comfort rooms, cottages, water falls, springs, diverse flora and fauna, and other scenic spots and facilities.
In the meeting, Protected Areas Superintendents (PASus) presented the status and implementation of their respective ecotourism management plans; proposed projects and programs to be funded from the Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF); and intervention on communication, education, and public awareness campaign.
The regional environment chief ordered an orderly and organized operation flow within the PA by passing a resolution endorsing to the PAMB guidelines on collection of fees and charges specifically for entrance and ecological services.
"Our protected areas are popularly attracting tourists not only because of its essence to safeguard biodiversity and deliver vital ecosystem services but also as an avenue to let the public now embrace its value and importance. And one indicator is their willingness to pay for environmental development," Dir. Bambalan underscored.
She also instructed the PASus to include in their plan the establishment or improvement of a Protected Area Management Office per legislated PA as mandated in Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018 which amended RA 7586 known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.
The meeting also discussed monitoring and regulation of PA natural resource user's fee and to encourage them to apply for appropriate tenurial instrument.
Collection of fees must be properly implemented to increase the earnings deposited in the IPAF.
Joining the environment officials in PA development discussions were representatives of the local government units, national government agencies, non-government organizations, academe, and civil society organizations.#