Covenant of cooperation for Sta. Cruz Islands OKd PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:54

The Protected Area and Ecotourism Management Board of the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape (PAEMB-G&LSCIPLS) recently approved the Inter-Agency Covenant of Cooperation that seeks to establish a comprehensive security and law enforcement plan for the protection and conservation of both Sta. Cruz Islands, widely acclaimed for their pink-sand beaches.

The PAEMB, a multi-sectoral management body created by virtue of RA 7586 known as the National Integrated Protected Areas Systems (NIPAS) Act of 1992, also called upon all the agencies concerned, specifically the Philippine Navy- Naval Forces Western Mindanao (PN-NAVFORWEM), Philippine National Police –Maritime and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to coordinate with each other in the conduct of a joint maritime patrol and law enforcement operations on and off the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands.

Other signatories to the covenant of cooperation were the city government represented by Mayor Beng Climaco through the City Agriculturist Office, Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources, City Tourism Office/Protected Area Management Unit, the Philippine Army through Task Force Zamboanga, Zamboanga City Police Office and the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology.

Early on, the PAEMB has passed a resolution supporting Mayor Climaco’s request for the city government of Zamboanga to own, manage, protect and preserve the parcels of land located on the Great Sta. Cruz Island.

Records from the City Assessor’s Office showed that the parcels of land with an aggregate area 104,891 sq.ms situated on the Great Sta. Cruz Island (facing the Island of Basilan) were titled under the names of the Republic of the Philippines/C. Lind.

It can be recalled, the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), the City of Zamboanga, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-9) and PAEMB signed a memorandum of agreement in June 2011, transferring the development, management maintenance, operation, conservation and protection of Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands to the City Of Zamboanga.

Considering that the entire Great Sta. Cruz Island is part of the protected landscape pursuant to RA 7586 known as the National Integrated Protected Areas Systems (NIPAS) Act of 1992, Mayor Climaco deemed it proper and necessary for the city government to develop, manage, protect and conserve the entire island.— Vic Larato