Lipa City, Batangas – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON conducted the first training under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS)-Marine Protected Area (MPA) Capacity Building Program (NIMCAPB) focusing on the fundamentals of MPA management, on September 6-9, 2022.

The capacity building was participated in by 15 coastal and marine focal persons at the DENR Calabarzon regional and field offices. It was part of the Coastal and Marine Management Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP), one of the flagship programs of the department.

The four-day learning event included lectures and workshops on MPAs, marine ecosystems, ocean processes, and MPA management approaches; strategic management planning including development of goals and objectives and identification of management strategies and actions; field work at a local MPA in Lobo, Batangas; and presentations on the enforcement of relevant laws and regulations, and climate change.

In her message to the participating coastal and marine focal persons, DENR Calabarzon Assistant Regional Director for Management Services, Ronita A. Unlayao emphasized that the MPA activities should be in line with the manual and that, the same should not only include protection activities but also ecotourism and other activities where the community can benefit from.

As stipulated in the DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-26 or the guidelines for the implementation of CMEMP, an MPA is “a defined area of the sea established and set aside by law, administrative regulation, or any other effective means in order to conserve and protect a part of or the entire enclosed environment through the establishment of management guidelines”. 

At present, Calabarzon has seven MPAs established under CMEMP, four MPA Networks, and 96 locally managed MPAs. The said MPAs can be found in the provinces of Batangas, Quezon, and Cavite.

John Erick Avelino, NIMCAPB national mentor from the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), said the capacity building program was developed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2014. Through the collaboration of BMB and USAID, the first training of the eight-module program initially rolled out at the regional levels in 2019.

The recently concluded training was part of the Learning and Development Plan of DENR Calabarzon.###