In thirty-four (34) years of being established as Watershed Forest Reserve under Presidential Proclamation No. 156 and being identified as one of the initial components of National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) under RA 7586, as amended by RA 11038 or E-NIPAS, the Alabat Watershed Forest Reserve (AWFR) is undertaking activities on its way to becoming a legislated Protected Area (PA).
However, prior to being a legislated PA by the Congress, AWFR should first be established under a new Presidential Proclamation that will determine the AWFR as protected area.
This was one of the agenda of the public consultation spearheaded by AWFR Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) of CENRO Calauag on 17 September 2021, which was attended by representatives from LGU Alabat; barangay officials of Bacong, Caglate, Villa Victoria, and Villa Norte; farmers and irrigator associations; religious sector; Sangguniang Kabataan; Protected Area Management Board (PAMB); Kalipunan ng Ligang Pilipina (KALIPI); and some residents of concerned barangay.
During the consultation, PASu Romel David D. Rama rendered the highlights of the status of AWFR in becoming a protected area.
PASu Rama emphasized that the PAMB has a significant responsibility in the management of AWFR.
Based on the result of the Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA) conducted last August to September 2020, AWFR has a total area of 688 hectares extending in Brgys. Bacong, Caglate, Villa Norte, and Villa Victoria. Moreover, the 54 Key Informants that have been interviewed during PASA have positive feedback in declaring the AWFR as PA.
The results of PASA revealed that AWFR is a very diverse ecosystem in terms of ecologically important species of flora and fauna; of which, threatened species of flora such as Narra, Bolong-eta, Kamagong, Molave, Amugis, Kalantas, Apitong, White Lauan, and others survive and thrive. Likewise, threatened species of fauna like Tarictic hornbill, Brahminy kite, olive-backed sunbird, Philippine pit viper, Philippine deer, and others also exist.
PASu Rama reiterated that based on overall result of the PASA, it was determined that AWFR is suited for the establishment as Protected Area under the category, Protected Landscape.
After the presentation of PASA result, the program ensued to the open forum. Participants representing the different sectors of the society aired their opinions and recommendations; and agreed in the establishment of AWFR as Protected Area under the category, Protected Landscape for the sake of the present and future generations.