DENR CALABARZON holds the 5th Regional PAMB Summit

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DENR CALABARZON holds the 5th Regional PAMB Summit

Photo courtesy of CDD

         The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 4A CALABARZON conducted the 2016 Regional Protected Area Management Boards (PAMBs) Summit from August 30-September 1, 2016 at the Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. A hundred and seventy members of the PAMBs of 16 protected areas under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) within the region, convened for the fifth time on this annual event which began in 2012.

     "Alam po ninyo, isa ito sa mga initiative na ginagawa ng ating regional office sa Calabarzon. Pang-limang taon na ginagawa natin ito -- na paminsan-minsan sa isang taon, magkapulong-pulong po tayo at magbigayan ng iba't ibang kuro-kuro [tungkol sa kung] ano yung mga issues na naandyan sa inyo at ano pa yung mga pwedeng solusyon na dapat po nating gawin," DENR 4A Regional Director Reynulfo A. Juan said to the participating PAMB members.

      PAMB is the governing body of a protected area, composed of different stakeholders who directly or indirectly benefit from the park and its resources. In the Calabarzon region, operational PAMBs are observed in the following protected areas: Taal Volcano Protected Landscape in Batangas province; Mts. Palay-Palay/Mataas Na Gulod Protected Landscape in Cavite and Batangas provinces; Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape in Laguna and Quezon; Quezon Protected Landscape, Binahaan River Watershed Forest Reserve, Presidential Proclamation No. 1636, Infanta Watershed Forest Reserve, Alabat Watershed Forest Reserve, Maulawin Spring Protected Landscape, Alibijaban Wilderness Area, Mulanay Forest Reserve and Buenavista Protected Landscape in Quezon; Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve in Rizal and Quezon; and, Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape, Pamitinan Protected Landscape and Hinulugang Taktak Protected Landscape in Rizal.

      This year, the summit carries the theme "Enhancing Protected Area Management, Uplifting Human Life," which generally aims to enlighten the board members on key protected area management and conservation activities on a local and international scale and perspective, and to serve as venue for the sharing of best practices and experiences in selected protected areas from which others can emulate and/or learn from.

       Said activity could be considered as one of the most momentous and star-studded of the previous ones as it entails topics and presentations from distinguished guest speakers, starting off with the recently appointed DENR Secretary, Madam Regina Paz L. Lopez. "I want to commend you for doing this. It's a beautiful event," Secretary Lopez addressed the DENR Region 4A director while giving comments on the summit. She said it was her first time to have attended such after she assumed her position.

        In her keynote message, the environment department head emphasized her battle for social justice in terms of the use and enjoyment of land resources. "The resources of the Filipino people are not enjoyed by the Filipino people... I'm going to change that," she mentioned. With this, she explained one-by-one what the DENR must do, such as: include the civil society as partners; shift from a regulatory arm to a development arm; transform the National Greening Program into a reap of economic growth; and, adopt an area management approach.

      "Sabi nga ng ating mahal na Secretary, napakaimportante para sa kanya at para sa lahat na magkaroon tayo ng sinasabing pagbabago sa kabuhayan ng ating mga host communities dito po sa mga protected areas...palagay ko, sa tatlong araw na pag-uusapan po natin maybe we have to revisit our management plans para po i-align natin doon sa magiging thrust ng ating mahal na Secretary," director Juan cited in response to the DENR head's call from the very beginning, since her appointment.

       "We're going to transform DENR," the passionate secretary further stated. She then urged the DENR officials and staff to join her in making a difference in public service by having "the heart of a warrior, the mind of an innovator, the dynamism of an entrepreneur, and the passion of a patriot".

       Other discussion topics included land cover analysis in the Calabarzon region by Dr. Amanda Whitehurst from the United States (US) Forest Service International Program; US Assistance for International Development (USAID) initiatives in protected area management in the Philippines by USAID-Philippines Policy Advisor, Ms. Dani Newcomb; landscape approach on protected area management by DENR Forest Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon; lessons on protected area management in other countries by DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Theresa Mundita Lim; Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services Project for Philippines (Phil-WAVES)-Laguna Lake Basin by Engr. Jocelyn Sta. Ana from the Laguna Lake Development Authority; LAWIN Forest and Biodiversity Protection System by USAID Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economic and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Chief of Party, Dr. Efrain Laureano; potential alternative energy sources in protected areas of Calabarzon by Department of Energy-Renewable Energy Management Bureau Director Mario Marasigan; and, Ecotourism Master Plan in Calabarzon region by Department of Tourism Region 4A Director Rebecca Labit.

       Moreover, the summit comprised sharing of success stories in certain protected areas in the region; parallel sessions on resolution of issues and concerns, project proposals for funding under the Integrated Protected Area Fund and orientation of new members regarding the roles and responsibilities of the PAMB; and, visit to La Mesa Watershed, a protected area in Metro Manila.

     Regarding the content of the event, Protected Area Superintendent Salud Pangan of Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape remarked, "maganda siya kasi mga bagong information yung makukuha ng ating mga PAMB, especially, yung mga new PAMB members."

      "Bilang tribo na nakadalo dito, natutuwa ako dahil nagiging malinaw sa amin yung bawat topic at iba't ibang sangay ng ating pamahalaan. Tapos, nire-recognize ng PAMB ang tribo namin, yung CADT namin, ganun din yung mga policies at mga rules and regulations," Mrs. Thelma Aumentado of PAMB-Presidential Proclamation No. 1636 said also as her feedback on the activity.

      On the other hand, the recently elected San Nicolas, Batangas chief executive and new member of PAMB-Taal Volcano Protected Landscape, Mayor William Enriquez, expressed his appreciation for having been invited in the summit. "Kagaya kong bagong Mayor, may napakagandang tulong at idea ako na nakuha sapagkat gaya namin na pinagpala ng magagandang tanawin, dapat ay balanse ang turismo at pag-iingat sa ating kalikasan. Kaya, maganda na ako'y naging kabahagi pati ang DOT at ang mga nagpresent ng kanilang mga pinag-aralan sa PAMB," he uttered.