The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - MIMAROPA Region concluded the first Protected Area Superintendents’ (PASu) Conference held in Sibuyan Island, Romblon on January 20-24, 2020.
The activity forms part of the initiatives of the regional office to regularly train and capacitate field office frontliners particularly the PASUs who are considered the chief operating officers and personnel primarily accountable for the management and operation of the protected areas.

“It is just apt to hold this conference for our PASUs since MIMAROPA is one of the regions with the most number of protected areas in the country. We look forward to having more equipped and rejuvenated protected area personnel after this conference,” DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornando remarked.

The conference included case studies and analysis, plenary discussions on actual situations in protected areas (PAs) relative to ecotourism, sustainable financing, law enforcement, and PA management. There was also a discussion on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Inscription Process, as well as a presentation of the best practices in the PAs of MIMAROPA and other regions. Games, exercises, icebreakers and workshops were designed to challenge the physical, mental, social and emotional capacities of the participants.

In addition, a site visit led by PASu Forester Malvin Rocerowas conducted in Mt. Guiting-guiting Natural Park (MGGNP) in Sibuyan Island to showcase its best practices. The practical experiential learning included visits to areas within the administrative jurisdiction of the LGUs, and ecotourism sites including Lambingan Falls and Cantingas River.

There was also engagement with multi-sectoral forest protection committee members, and orientation on the status of DENR-funded projects, such as vermicomposting of the Romblon State University and handicraft making of Cabitangahan-Talaba CARP Association. The field experience concluded with an “Amazing Race” held in the MGGNP PAMO Complex, and with an evening event showcasing talents from the municipality ofMagdiwang in Sibuyan Island, Romblon.

During the conference, Plaques of Appreciation were awarded to the chief executives of Sibuyan Island including Magdiwang Mayor Arthur Tansiongco, San Fernando Mayor Salem Tansingco and Cajidiocan Mayor Nicasio Ramos for their unwavering support and cooperation in the conservation and protection activities of MGGNP. On October 29, 2019, a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Agreement was forged between DENR MIMAROPA represented by RED Adornado and the Sibuyan local executives who pledged to provide financial support amounting to P500,000.00 each, for the conservation and protection of MGGNP.

MGGNP is one of the protected areas legislated under Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018. It is situated within the three municipalities of Sibuyan Island - Magdiwang, San Fernando, Cajidiocan. It is home to various endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna, and is referred as the Galapagos of Asia for its endemism and densest forest ever recorded.

Around 50 participants including Assistant PASUs and Protected Area Management (PAMO) personnel from the regional and field offices participated in the event. Also present were Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Dr. Vicente Tuddao, Jr., resource persons from Biodiversity Management Bureau, namely Ecosystems Management Specialist (ECOMS) II JennelynAseguradoand ECOMS II John JobertBandol; and PASus from other regions, namely PASu Emerita Albas of Mount Pulag Natural Park from CAR and PASu Daniel Somera of Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park from Region 10.###