Cebu News

DENR starts Bantayan Island survey to come up with management plan

Jessa Agua - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A delineation survey and inventory of structures are being conducted in Bantayan Island to be incorporated in the island’s general management plan.

The survey conducted by a 17-man team started July 12 upon the directive of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 executive director Isabelo Montejo.

 A regional special order issued by Montejo designated protected area and wildlife division chief Ariel Rica as team leader to monitor and supervise the team.

 The same order also composed the 8-member team for the 20-meter easement zone and demarcation led by DENR-7’s forest management services Engineer II Carlington Catadman.

The survey aims to complete the delineation activities and inventory of structures within the 20-meter easement zone in Bantayan Island Wilderness Area (BIWA).

 “The intention of the team is to critically make a ground assessment or demarcation on the 20-meter easement including strict protection and multiple use zones in BIWA so that we would be able to impose the appropriate environmental laws for its continued protection in the entire island,” said Montejo.

Full report on the delineation must be in by August 22, to be forwarded by Montejo to the DENR central office.

 “The results of the assessment will be an integral part of the protected area management board-endorsed general management plan of BIWA which will be submitted to DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje for appropriate action,” Montejo added.

A management plan is one of the requirements to pass a bill de-establishing a portion of the Bantayan Island to become alienable and disposable so that it may be owned privately as this is important since most shelter agencies or private institutions require a titled or patented lot before reconstruction efforts in Yolanda-affected towns can proceed.

 Demarcation is the establishment of the boundaries of a protected area and management zone using viable markers or monuments, bouys in case of marine areas, and known natural features or landmarks, among others, as a result of the actual ground delineation.

  Delineation refers to the actual survey of the boundaries of protected areas and its management zones using global positioning system of other applicable surveying instruments or technologies to come up with a map of the area.

 Similarly, a seven-member team was created with biologist Lorenz Gideon Esmero as head for the BIWA’s resource assessment including a protected area suitability assessment; and survey and registration of protected area occupants.

 The prevailing law for the BIWA is Republic Act Number 7586, better known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.

 The law sets BIWA, a wilderness area as proclaimed by Presidential Proclamation No. 2151 in 1981, an initial component of the NIPAS of the Philippines.

 Wilderness area is a protected area that is created and managed mainly for purposes of research or for the protection of large, unspoiled areas of wilderness, whose primary purpose is the preservation of biodiversity and as essential reference areas for scientific work and environmental monitoring.

 In a meeting last June 25 at Ogtong Cave in Santa Fe, the BIWA PAMB endorsed the general management plan, one of the critical inputs for the possible de-establishment of BIWA. (FREEMAN)

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