Last February 27, 2023, CCEF team conducted a baseline assessment in Barangay Biatug in Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor. Mangrove community structure assessment was conducted using the 10×10 quadrat transect method. Species composition and abundance of seagrass was determined using the 1×1 quadrat transect method. Lastly, reef habitat assessment for benthic form and reef fish estimates was conducted using the PIT method and Fish Visual Census, respectively. The team conducting the assessment were the following: (1) Dalton Dacal-Senior CRM Officer, (2) Ranie Ibanez-CRM Officer, (3) Dionel Molina-Project Associate, (4) Danilo Delizo Jr.-Project Associate, and (5) Sharmaine Joy Diez-Project Associate. The team was also guided and assisted by Bitaug’s Barangay Captain, Hon. Aldwin Magsalay, together with him is the president of Bitaug Fisher’s Association, Rex Lusterio and other four members of the PO.
In establishing the proposed Bitaug MPA was still floating for more than a decade. It was determined that social aspects in the community were the most challenging factor in implementing MPA. It was important to create a forum for stakeholder interaction, query, and debate to provide opportunities for collaboration and mediation within the context of social interactions and conflicts.