RDC-7: Reclassify Bantayan Island
(The Freeman) - October 10, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Regional Development Council-7 has requested Congress to lift the wilderness and protected area status of Bantayan so settlements could be reconstructed and rehabilitated and commercial activities could resume in the island.

The request was made following RDC-7’s endorsement of the Bantayan Island Wilderness Area General Management Plan that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 crafted, almost a year after super typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Visayas.

The GMP, which classifies areas in the island into a multiple use zone and strict protection zone, would serve as a tool to de-establish the zoning of Bantayan Island as a wilderness area.

The GMP was approved by the island’s Protected Area Management Board and endorsed by the Cebu Provincial Development Council.

The BIWA-GMP defines the strict protection  areas of Bantayan for mangrove areas, water lens or water-recharge area, and sea turtle nesting sites, all of which are more than 596 hectares.

This leaves more than 10,000 hectares of the island as open to various uses such as agriculture, agro-forestry, livelihood activities and recreational tourism.

The RDC-7 said investments and reconstruction efforts would go to waste if the island remains in the wilderness and protected areas status.

The RDC-Economic Development Committee has recommended the endorsement of the GMP to the DENR secretary and to the House of Representatives to fast-track its approval and implementation.

Bantayan Island is classified as a protected wildlife area under Presidential Proclamation 2151then President Ferdinand Marcos signed in 1981. PP 2151 prevented the 14,183.50 hectares in all three municipalities of Santa Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos from becoming alienable and disposable.

Because of this, the National Housing Authority-7 earlier said it can only provide financial assistance for housing materials and not relocation sites to Yolanda survivors in the island.

Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Chief Panfilo Lacson, during his last visit in Cebu, said he would recommend that President Benigno Aquino III reclassify relocation sites for Yolanda survivors in the islands of Bantayan and Camotes into alienable and disposable lands.

 The relocation sites for survivors have to be purchased by the local government unit, but the Commission on Audit requires LGUs to purchase only titled properties.

The Cebu Provincial Board had also passed a resolution requesting Aquino to declare the islands of Bantayan and Camotes as alienable and disposable land to address the concern of the NHA.

Board Member Jude Thaddeus Sybico said that if the president issues a special proclamation, it would remove difficulties in the acquisition of relocation sites.

The NHA is tasked by the national government to provide permanent housing for affected families living in areas that DENR certified as “no build zones” following the damage Yolanda caused.

On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development was tasked to provide emergency shelter assistance, while the Department of Public Works and Highways was assigned of the construction of bunk houses. (FREEMAN)

BANTAYAN BANTAYAN AND CAMOTES BANTAYAN ISLAND BANTAYAN ISLAND WILDERNESS AREA GENERAL MANAGEMENT PLAN BOARD MEMBER JUDE THADDEUS SYBICO CEBU PROVINCIAL BOARD CEBU PROVINCIAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS ISLAND YOLANDA
  • Latest
Latest
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with