DENR-12, Protect Wildlife intensify drive vs. environmental offenders in Sarangani Bay
IN THE PHOTO: (L-R, bottom) SBPS-PASu Joy C. Ologuin, Kiamba CENRO Ali M. Hadjinasser, PhD, Protect Wildlife Chief of Party Rebecca Paz, DENR Assistant Secretary Metodio U. Turbella, DENR-12 RED Dr. Sabdullah C. Abubacar, CESO IV, (L-R, top) OCD-12’s Rommel C. Sinarimbo, SBPS Assistant PASu Elmer C. Oliveros and CDD Chief Rosalinda B. Cortez, PhD during the turn over of SBPS Management Plan and Enforcement Protocol to DENR.
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 12 together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Protect Wildlife Project and partner stakeholders has stepped up efforts to protect the Sarangani Bay through the conduct of the two-day first enforcement summit on Tuesday, March 3, this city.
The event, which was hosted by Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS) Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) and USAID Protect Wildlife Project, intended to strengthen the efforts in reducing environmental threats in the bay by launching the Law Enforcement Group (LEG), Management Plan and Enforcement Protocols of the SBPS.
DENR Assistant Secretary for Western Mindanao Metodio U. Turbella, who represented DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations, Enforcement and Muslim Affairs Jim O. Sampulna, CESO III, emphasized that sustainable development and biological conservation must go hand in hand in order to maintain the ecosystem and the goods and services being provided by the SBPS for the present and future generations.
“We only have one SBPS, and ultimately by protecting and conserving this area, we shall reap the bounty of its benefits and richness for years to come,” Asec. Turbella said.
Dr. Sabdullah C. Abubacar, CESO IV, regional executive director (RED) of DENR-12, said that everyone must work together to save and protect the Sarangani Bay.
“The area is very vital for the economy and ecotourism in this region. We should be proud because we have the Sarangani Bay,” RED Abubacar said.
“We have very good environmental laws that we need to implement in this region. But all of these will remain in papers, unless we can create a strong law enforcement group that will protect the environment, especially the Sarangani Bay,” RED Abubacar stressed.
Joy C. Ologuin, SBPS Protect Area Superintendent (PASu), underscored that the management plan and enforcement protocols, which were turned over to DENR-12, will serve as guides in complementing and harmonizing existing activities and efforts to protect the bay and effectively enforce laws on biodiversity conservation.
“We can now envision a healthy Sarangani Bay with well-conserved biodiversity and healthy environment since an institutionalized group can now execute the SBPS protocols and policies,” PASu Ologuin said.
PASu Ologuin also said that the USAID Protect Wildlife contributed a lot to the said milestones by supporting the creation of the LEG, institutionalizing bay-wide enforcement protocol, and training Sarangani Bay community law enforcers in 2019.
Rebecca Paz, USAID Protect Wildlife chief of party, shared that their team’s experience in the region has been rewarding.
“We saw how serious and committed our partners are in Region 12 which challenged the whole team of Protect Wildlife to provide the necessary support and technical assistance that the area needed,” she said.
In the same event, RED Abubacar, the concurrent SBPS Protected Area Management Board chairperson, spearheaded the oath taking of the SBPS-LEG members from DENR-12, partner local government units (LGUs), line agencies, men in uniform and stakeholders.
Asec. Turbella said that the creation of SBPS-LEG is a great stride in ensuring the sustainability of the bay.
“It is necessary that there must be a group, a body within the area that will regulate and monitor all the activities,” Asec. Turbella said.
The said law enforcers pledged to uphold and enforce the protection and conservation of SBPS and promote the participation and involvement of all protected area stakeholders to ensure the perpetuity of the bay for the benefit of the present and future generation.
“You are the answer to our prayers who will help us in protecting the bay,” RED Abubacar said to the SBPS-LEG members.
RED Abubacar also ensured that motorized boats and other necessary equipment will be provided to each town within the SBPS to aid them in their enforcement activities.
He added that additional personnel from each concerned LGU will also be capacitated in scuba diving to monitor the actual status of life below the bay.
On March 5, 1996, the Sarangani Bay was reserved and established as a Protected Seascape through the Presidential Proclamation No. 756.
Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System Act of 2018 officially established the SBPS as one of the 107 legislated protected areas in the Philippines.
# # #