Left: Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENR) Officer Salvador C. Manglinong, Jr., Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr., Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Officer Vicente T. Mellizas, Jr. of CENRO Guimbal and Engr. Noel Z. Hechanova, City ENR Officer inked the agreements during the MOA signing. Right: Signed MOAs were presented during the photo opportunity./DENR6
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region VI, represented by Regional Executive Director (RED) Francisco E. Milla, Jr., and the Iloilo City Government, represented by Mayor Jerry P. Treñas signed two (2) Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) for environmental protection and development of two areas in the city last February 17, 2021, at the Iloilo City Hall.
Under the MOA, the Thirty Five (35) hectares of forestland area located in Brgy.Hinactacan, Lapaz District will be protected and sustained as Eco-Park Development and Mangrove Management Rehabilitation, Protection and Enhancement Project or to be known as “Eco-Park 2”.
This will further help showcase the natural mangrove forests in the city as a social laboratory for marine and other wildlife management researches in the urban center.
The Agreement has a binding period of five years and may renew upon agreement of both parties.
A separate MOA was also signed for the development, management, protection and conservation of the Sixteen Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-Five (16,695) square meters coastal area along Brgy. Boulevard in Molo District.
This move is pursuant to Republic Act No. 4767, also known as “An Act Declaring the Boulevard, Public Lands Between It and the Shores and the Territorial Waters from the District of Molo to the District of Arevalo, Within the City of Iloilo, A City Park, to be known as Iloilo City Park” that was approved on June 18, 1966.
An Iloilo Botanical Garden and Biodiversity Conservation Park Project known as “Iloilo City Park” will be implemented in the area. It will also showcase the marine and terrestrial biodiversity, especially those endemic in the area.
This agreement has a binding period of Fifteen (15) years and may renew upon mutual agreement of the parties.
The DENR 6 shall provide technical assistance to Iloilo City Government in the conduct of survey, mapping and demarcation of the areas, and also conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of the project to ensure that its implementation is strictly in accordance with the existing environmental laws, rules and regulation.
These projects will also allow for collaboration with other national government agencies or private organizations for the development of the area compliant with the approved Area Development and Management Plan.
Cutting of trees, gathering and collecting of wildlife species are prohibited except for scientific/research study with an issued permit from the Department. The areas will also be prohibited from any encroachment and other illegal activities.
Over all, these agreements ensure the commitment of local government units towards the protection and improvement of forest cover, restore ecological balance, enhance our biodiversity and adapt ecotourism in these areas for leisure purposes.
These will also help increase carbon sequestration, coastal protection for storm surges and act as wind breakers that helps mitigate the impacts of climate change and to promote research and education for learners especially on the habitat of coastal and marine species in the said areas.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENR) Officer Salvador C. Manglinong, Jr., Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Officer Vicente T. Mellizas, Jr. and City ENR Officer Engr. Noel Z. Hechanova witnessed the MOA signing.
“Iloilo City is indeed a vibrant liveable city not just rich in culture, but also with its coastal and marine resources. It is important to preserve and protect these natural resources before it’s too late,” said regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.
The DENR is mandated to conserve, develop, protect and regulate the utilization of the environment and natural resources of the country for the benefit of the present and future generations. These mandates are reflected in the priority programs and projects of the Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu./DENR6