Camiguin to limit tourists to sustain environment
Gerry Lee Gorit (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2020 - 12:00am

MAMBAJAO, Philippines — With the huge influx of local and foreign tourists visiting the island-province, the Camiguin provincial government has taken measures to ensure that residents will protect the environment as an important natural resource. 

The province recorded P213.088 million in investments for the first three quarters of 2019, Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo noted, as he assured the public of environmental protection and sustainability with the implementation of Population Carrying Capacity during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Jan. 7 at the Camiguin Convention Center.

“We are happy to share that we have taken the first steps last year toward establishing carrying capacity limits in our ecotourism sites, to be able to determine the maximum number per species that can be sustained by the environment currently and in the future,” Romualdo said. 

Survey enumerators of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office have gathered secondary data on infrastructure, population, water consumption for households, hotels and resorts, waste generation, wastewater, biodiversity, municipal profile and other limiting factors for analysis.

“I want us to have a carrying capacity on tourists. Before, we wanted to have a lot of people, but it wasn’t correct. There should be a carrying capacity to sustain all our environments,” the governor said.

Noting the 11.56 percent increase in commercial aircraft movement and seven percent increase in passenger traffic, Romualdo said there is a need to take further action to protect and conserve the island’s environment.

Thus, the Climate Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction Center shall ensure that all policies, laws, regulations and ordinances are enforced pertaining to the conservation and protection of the environment and natural resources.  

Furthermore, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) has carried on numerous programs in line with the DENR’s national priorities. 

These include the expanded national greening program, enhanced biodiversity conservation, scaling up of marine and coastal ecosystem, improved land administration and management, intensified forest protection and anti-illegal logging. 

The governor said PENRO has focused on maintenance and protection for the expanded national greening program under which plantations were established in 2017 and 2018. These include a 50-hectare bamboo plantation, three-hectare rich forest and mangrove enrichment, and 50-hectare bamboo plantation along the riverbanks.  

For protected areas, PENRO also pursued activities that focus on advocacy, assessment and monitoring of sites and species. 

While it is good to note the economic gains of having a lot of investments on the island, Romualdo said it is everybody’s role to ensure that the environment will always be healthy and beautiful because after all, this is what the island is well known for.

DENR JURDIN JESUS ROMUALDO PENRO SOPA
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