PAEMB okays supplemental eco-tourism management plan PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 October 2015 13:05

by Sheila Covarrubias


The Protected Area and Ecotourism Management Board (PAEMB) in a special meeting Wednesday approved the supplemental ecotourism management plan for the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands.

The supplemental plan includes the construction of a watchtower and research station and marine laboratory and repair of the lighthouse to be funded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Co-chaired by Mayor Beng Climaco and DENR Regional Director Arleigh Adorable, the PAEMB views the DENR proposal as very important features that would help advance the island’s management development plan, thus the approval of the requests.

The watchtower will be utilized for wildlife monitoring and other activities that are detrimental to the area. The lighthouse on the other hand will be used a powerful light used as a beacon or signal to aid nautical navigation.

Mayor Climaco thanked the PAEMB members specifically the DENR for continually coordinating efforts to support the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in the Sta. Cruz Island, a protected area that has tremendous potential for ecotourism development.

Additionally, the board also discussed ways as proposed by the Department of Tourism to organize a community-based ecotourism program intended to improve the community’s capabilities and ultimately making the members self-reliant.

One recommendation put forward by Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology President Dr. Milavel Nazario was to form the community into a cooperative with the support of the Cooperative development Authority and other agencies.

The Department of Tourism has started the conduct of livelihood trainings for the residents in the area.

The City Government it is recalled has taken over management of the Sta. cruz Island from the national government two years ago and has started the construction of infrastructures in the area.

The creation of the PAEMB was strengthened after the island was turned over to the city government.

Assistant City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Dr. Ed Bisquera Jr., head of the PAEMB Secretariat presided the meeting which was also attended by DENR personnel represented by CENR officer Ben Acana and focal person Michael de la Cruz, Atty. Eduard Fronda of the City Legal office, Richard Aliangan of the City Tourism Office, representatives from the DOT, Department of Agriculture, Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Task Force Zamboanga, Coast Guard District Southwestern Mindanao, Coast Guard-Zamboanga station, Regional Maritime Police, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and other concerned agencies. — Sheila Covarrubias