Statement for the Committee Meeting on Environment of the Office of the Municipal Council of Pandan, Antique, Philippines
The Alpha Team Organization-ATO, Inc. wishes to thank the members of the Municipal Council of Pandan, Antique for this opportunity to speak in behalf of our project team and as well for our advocacy in social and creative activism.
After months of work, research and collaboration with the community and the local government of Brgy. Mag-aba, Pandan, Antique, we have earned not only the lesson of community service but also the need to leave a long-term legacy for our community.
As previously mentioned by Dr. Resurreccion Sadaba of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), the Mag-aba Mangrove Forest is one of the highly diverse mangrove habitats in the province of Antique, it is well-noted that the province still has no mangrove protected area or Eco-Park. It is also noted during our survey of the landward area of the wetland that there are rare avian species in the area such as the Philippine Duck, which has been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a vulnerable species. Thus, there is a clear need to further identify the area as a critical habitat/protected area in accordance to our national laws.
We have submitted a proposed ordinance for a locally-managed marine protected area, only classifying certain coordinates in the seaward area, more particularly in the Mag-aba Lagoon and this proposal has been submitted to the DENR Regional Office in Iloilo and has deployed CENRO personnel to the area last May 30, 2018. The site inspection resulted to a positive affirmation from the said office. These areas are still classified as municipal waters and the mangrove areas as protected ones, which are all stipulated in Republic Act no. 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998. We will follow any technical advise from concerned government agencies, as our course of action.
We further respectfully request the local government to proceed in reviewing and developing the proposed ordinance, and as well support the thrusts to be made by the national agencies in reviewing the potential site. We also request all parties/stakeholders concerned to be more civic in discourse when it comes to resolving claims to the area.
Our generation only asks to retain the last of our natural resources, which contributes to the ecological and environmental stability of our communities. We cannot further control future exploitation and damage to these areas, if there is no legal protection, most especially from the authorities with jurisdiction in the area.
Our organization will continue to support related initiatives for the conservation of the Mag-aba Wetland. Thank you very much! #
Statement Released: 24 September 2018