by Bennie A. Recebido
SORSOGON CITY, September 2 (PIA) –- A total of 13 government agencies and non-government organizations pledged commitment to support the long awaited dream of Barangay Sibago in Donsol town to develop the village as a new eco-tourism site through the establishment of a Bayanihan Ecological Park.
Punong barangay Noel Castro said Sibago is a potential site for ecological tourism because aside from the Butanding (Rhincodon typus) sightings, countless number of fireflies can also be seen in the area. It can also be noted that the first sighting of Butandings took place in the waters of Brgy. Sibago way back in 1998.
However, Castro said this development is hampered by the lack of resources and structures, thus, appealed to concerned agencies for necessary support.
The initial step conducted was the mangrove planting activity held on August 23, where more than a thousand propagules of ‘Bakawan-Babaye’ (Rhizopora mucronata Lmk) were planted by some 175 volunteers from various sectors.
Donsol municipal DILG office chief Imelda Gabinza earlier encouraged Castro to submit proposal to the local government of Donsol assuring him, his constituents and other project stakeholders that they will be ready to assist potential barangays like Sibago.
Provincial Tourism Officer Cris Racelis also reiterated the importance of submitting a proposal to be assured of tourism development assistance from various agencies and organizations. She said they are vying on potential tourism sites for development and gave assurance that the provincial government will extend technical assistance especially on training women and the youth.
Racelis, on the other hand, made notice of the poor transportation accessibility and communication signal in the area, thus, challenging the barangay officials to create more activities to further develop Brgy. Sibago, “because eventually tourism investors will come once they find out the potential of the area.”
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Engr. Maribeth Fruto said both the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sorsogon and PENRO can give technical assistance such as seminars and trainings in terms of solid waste management and sustainable coastal marine resources management.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic resources Provincial Fisheries Head Gil B Ramos laid down programs of BFAR such as provision of livelihood and scholarship assistance to fisher folks and their children.
“Aside from this, we also have Integrated Coastal Resource Management program, conducts information dissemination on the importance of mangroves, choosing the right specie, teaching the community the right planting method and management of mangroves and likewise provide technical assistance in terms of proposal making for livelihood without hurting the mangroves,” he said.
Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Information Center Manager Irma Guhit, meanwhile, commended the convergence of various agencies and organizations in Sorsogon in supporting the activity which is anchored on the present administration’s National Greening Program (NGP), an integrated approach to implement the ‘ridge to reef’ complementary greening activity here in Sorsogon for a sustainable coastal resource management.
Mr. Raul Burce of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said they have passed and approved a proposal to give a ‘share’ to all coastal areas that generate tourism like the town of Donsol. He also disclosed that Indra Company, one of the leading IT services providers in Southeast Asia, has chosen Brgy. Sibago as beneficiary to the Fun Run activity which they have conducted.
Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Sorsogon Chapter President Andy Espinar committed to take part in the NGP to bring back the beauty of nature. He also said the KBP national chapter has already directed each chapter across the country to plant 10,000 trees in 2011 and their participation to the activity can already be counted as one.
World Vision Monitoring and Evaluation Associate Mr. Leo Legazpi gave assurance that they can take part in every planting activity in Sorsogon having around 300 volunteers and can apportion logistics for simple snacks during activities.
A representative who stood in behalf of Akrho Chapter President Mr. Christopher Arandia said on the part of the younger generation, they have volunteered themselves for the planting activity and will always be available to help the development of the community.
As a prelude to a Memorandum of Agreement for the establishment of a Bayahihan Eco Park, the signing of a pledge of commitment banner also took place.
Brgy. Chairman Castro said that through the help of the 903rd Brigade of Philippine Army (PA), Parasirang Donsolanon Abante Biryong Aagapay sa Kauswagan (PADABAKA) and the WWF who onceptualized the establishment of the eco-park, and with the help of various stakeholders who are one with them in their shot, it is not far-fetched that soon, the Bayanihan Ecological Park will be put into reality.
903rdIB, 9thID, PA Commanding Officer Col. Felix J. Castro Jr., meanwhile, introduced the “Love ko ang Kalikasan” hand sign which was also easily adopted by the group as a sign of commitment and support to the endeavor.
Bayanihan Eco-Park will also serve not only as an ecological tourism site, but also as a buffer zone that will mitigate the ill-effects of the changing climate. “Likewise, the eco-park will not only protect the Butandings but will also serve as the protector of the spirits dwelling in the area,” said PADABAKA Chair Bro. Florencio B. Gorordo. (MAL/BAR, PIA Sorsogon)