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Part of the sustainability strategy of the project DEEPER is to be able to train the local beneficiaries in the project site on MPA establishment through a multi-stakeholder approach. After the results presentation for the biophysical assessment of the Five (5) MPA sites (San Vicente Marine Sanctuary in Olanggo, Cebu, Mahaba and Busalian Marine Sanctuary in Talibon, Bohol, and Humay- humay and Sinandigan Marine Sanctuary in Ubay, Bohol) and focus group discussion to reach accurate recommendations for all identified sites, an MPA refresher training for MPA Establishment and workshop on ridge-to reef planning for all was conducted by CCEF to strengthen protection and conservation in all sites, as well as ensure that the communities are equipped and capacitated on the why Marine Protected Areas are essential tools for coastal resiliency.
A total of 29 participants from government agencies and People’s Organizations from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu and Talibon and Ubay, Bohol joined the 2-day MPA Establishment training and Ridge to Reef Planning at the Pacheco’s Inn Ubay, Bohol.
The MPA Establishment training was held at Pacheco’s Inn, Ubay. The program was divided into four major parts, (1) Introduction to Marine Protected Areas, (2) MPA MEAT (3) Introduction to GPS and GPS Plotting Exercise and (4) Focus Group Discussion Feedbacking and Ridge to Reef Planning. The MPA establishment training and persons involved can be found in Annex I. Prior to the discussions, the participants were asked to answer a pre-test and post-test to test their level of knowledge and confidence in the topics to be discussed.
The first speaker was Mr. Winfield Buscato, a professor at the Bohol Island State University and discussed about basic concept of Marine Protected Areas and it’s functions. During his discussion, he discussed the basic concept of MPAs, types of MPAs, it’s purpose and legal basis.
After his discussion, the participants were invited to ask questions about his discussion on Marine Protected Areas.
The MPA Management Effectiveness Tool or the MPA MEAT was discussed to create a situation analysis for each MPA. This was facilitated simultaneously by the second speaker was Ms. Sharmaine Diez, CCEF Project Associate-Ecosystems Specialist and documented by the CCEF staff. Each municipality was given a copy of the MPA MEAT for their reference.
The phases of MPA establishment was discussed, including its usual government processes, documents needed and evaluation of effectiveness based on the phases of MPA establishment. Afterwards, the participants were asked regarding the previous MPA results and their participation in it.
Based on the results of the MPA MEAT, only San Vicente Marine Sanctuary and Sinandigan Marine Sanctuary were functioning MPAs, with an active management body and regular enforcement. Mahaba and Busalian Fish Sanctuary in Talibon are both under LGU enforcement, and although they have good policies and municipal-level support financially, the current barangay MPA Management body is non-functional and is not well maintained due to internal conflict. According to Fisheries Technician, Ms. Ana Mae Evangelista, they are in the process of transferring the MPA Management Body to the local People’s Organization, Birhen sa Kalooy Fishermen Association as the women’s group have expressed their interest in being part of protecting their local MPA.
On the other hand, Humayhumay in Ubay has several missing documents. According to the LGU and the MPA Management Body, the PO and LGU has identified themselves as the MPA Management body, however, they do not have a regular enforcement schedule within the MPA and do not report/ record their regular patrols. Revisiting the Municipal ordinance and MPA Management Plans for the three MPAs, as well as formalizing the respective MPA Management bodies is recommended for the three MPAs at level 0. Coastal law enforcement training and deputization of their local fish wardens is also needed to be conducted at least once a year to ensure enforcement and monitoring within MPAs.
Global Positioning Systems are important in delineating MPAs and marine spatial Planning. Alyza Noelle Tan presented a short discussion on the basic concepts of the Global Positioning System and asked all the participants to download a basic GPS Camera and compass for the GPS Plotting Exercise. The participants were grouped into 4-5 members, each with a GPS Camera/ GPS Device, a masking tape and pentel pen. The groups were then taken outside for a short GPS Plotting exercise as they try to establish and locate their own MPAs using 4 points/coordinates.
Municipalities of Talibon and Ubay were provided with their own satellite-based Garmin GPS Device so they can practice using it especially in areas with poor internet signal, assisted by BPEMO staff.
Fig 3. Alyza Noelle Tan discussing the basic concept of the Global Positioning System (left) Actual GPS Plotting Exercise with the participants