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Engaging Argao Community: A step forward in Marine Protected Area management

Engaging Argao Community: A step forward in Marine Protected Area management

Last January 17, 2024, the Cebu-based organization CCEF (Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation) took a significant stride in marine conservation efforts as it convened an initial meeting in collaboration with the Argao LGU. The meeting primarily aimed at presenting the biophysical assessment report conducted in the previous year for the Argao LGU, focusing on Marine Protected Area (MPA) management. This gathering was pivotal in engaging and informing the local community about crucial findings and fostering collaboration towards effective MPA management strategies.

The activity commenced with an opening message from Sangguniang Bayan member and Chairman of the Committee on Tourism, Hon. Gus Anthony “Jag” Bacalso, who warmly welcomed the guests and participants. Following this, Evelyn T. Deguit, the Interim Executive Director, elucidated the rationale behind the activity, setting the tone for the discussions that followed. Mr. Wilfredo Abear, the Municipal Agriculturist, also extended a welcoming message to all participants, emphasizing the significance of their involvement in shaping the future of marine conservation in Argao.

The CCEF technical team, spearheaded by Atty. Dalton Dacal, provided a comprehensive re-orientation presentation to the stakeholders. The presentation delved into critical topics such as the role of Marine Protected Areas in Coastal Resource Management (CRM), elucidated by Atty. Dalton Dacal, the significance of Blue Carbon Ecosystems presented by Alexis Mae Cancino, and a detailed overview of the Biophysical Assessment Results by Nicholson Tan. Furthermore, Atty. Dalton Dacal led a discussion on MPA Redesign and Network, prompting participants to contemplate the next steps in their conservation efforts.

Building upon the insights gained from the presentations, Evelyn T. Deguit outlined the contents and template of the MPA management plan, providing participants with a roadmap for future actions. The discussion revolved around the imminent need to proceed with the development of a comprehensive management plan and the importance of integrating local insights and concerns into its framework.

One of the key decisions made during the meeting was to conduct an MPA management plan writeshop on February 15-16, 2024. This workshop aims to bring together stakeholders, including members of the barangay council, to actively participate in the planning process. By involving local authorities and community representatives, the aim is to ensure inclusivity and garner support for the implementation of effective MPA management strategies.

The collaborative efforts witnessed during the initial meeting underscored the collective commitment towards preserving Argao’s marine ecosystems. Through continuous engagement and participatory approaches, CCEF and the Argao LGU are poised to make significant strides in marine conservation, ensuring the sustainable management of Marine Protected Areas for generations to come.

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