DENR-9 holds info drive for MTPL community base eco-tourism program PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 18 May 2014 13:58

Over 60 residents and stakeholders of Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape (MTPL) attended recently an Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Campaign on Community-Based Ecotourism Program at Barangay Limas in Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur which was organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)  in Region IX, Zamboanga Peninsula.

Also in attendance were Tigbao Mayor Danilo Dalid, Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Mario Ronulo, DENR-PENRO AdelaidaBorja, and personnel from the Regional Public Affairs Office (RPAO) and the Protected Areas and Wildlife Division (PAWD).

The whole-day affair aimed to create awareness to the different stakeholders on the management of the MTPL as an ecotourism site, their respective roles in the proposed DENR-IX community-based ecotourism program, the importance of a protected area for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and as possible investment site that could provide alternative livelihood to the host communities.

MTPL formerly known as Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Park is one of the natural monuments of the province’ second congressional district being the second highest peak in ZDS with a crater lake at its middle portion known as Lake Maragang.  Pursuant to   Presidential Proclamation No. 354 dated August 14, 2000, the area was declared as a protected area.   MTPL has a total area of 2, 691,189 hectares covering six (6) barangays of Tigbao municipality (New Tuburan, Limas, Upper Nilo, Maragang, Timolan, and Guinlin ) and one  each for Guipos and San Miguel municipalities.

In his message, Tigbao MayorDanilo Dalid expressed support to improve the ecotourism industry in Tigbao. He recalled  in the past the beauty of his municipality  and the bountiful variety of wildlife which he   is  now trying to restore  with the help of the DENR, Department  of Tourism and his constituents. “The promotion of MTPL as an ecotourism site is a visible indicator of my dream come true,”Dalid said.   He finally urged the participants to find sound ways to generate income through ecotourism and practice organic agricultural farming to preserve the biodiversity of MTPL towards a progressive life.

MTPL Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Mario Ronulo, informed the participants that the meeting is an initial preparation for the opening of MTPL for ecotourism destination once the construction of infrastructure facilities will be completed this year composed of the following: cottage, multi-purpose hall, toilet & bathroom, water system, look-out tower, mini-wharf, picnic shade and children’s pool with safety nets.  These will be used by tourists while visiting MTPL.

Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial (mass) tourism. Its purpose may be to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecologicalconservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. (Wikipedia)

Part of the IEC activities is a workshop using Strength-Weakness-Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis.  A film showing on biodiversity conservation was also presented   and signing of the Pledge of Commitment by the community to support the Ecotourism Program.

Before the meeting ended, the RPAO distributed   various reading materials    composed of   a primer on the National Greening Program (NGP), RecursosNaturales Newsletter, Climate Change Poster, and Primer on the International Day of Forests, and Bookmarks on World Water Day 2014 to the different barangay officials present for the use in their respective offices.

Meanwhile, the DENR IEC team visited the Regional Wildlife Rescue Center at Barangay Lacupayan, Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur.  This facility houses injured, captured and turned-over wild fauna while waiting for their health recovery before releasing to its natural habitat. — H. A. Ascura/DENR-9