The Philippine Area Management Board (PAMB) sets its sight on further developing the 15 protected areas in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan in the promotion of ecotourism.
In the recent PAMB convention in Ilocos Norte, Gwendolyn Bambalan, assistant regional director for technical services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 1 said, these protected areas have been eyed to promote sustainable enterprise to benefit its local stakeholders.
“PAMB members from the four provinces in Region 1 are currently undertaking capability building seminar to ensure they are ready to implement new innovations in protected area management,” said Bambalan.
In Region 1, at least 15 protected areas are being promoted.
Found in this province are the Kalbario-Patapat Natural Park in Pagudpud; Tanap watershed forest reserve at Barangay Tanap in Burgos, Metropolitan Ilocos Norte watershed forest reserve in Sulbec, Pasuquin; and the Paoay Lake Natural Park.
In Ilocos Sur, the protected areas are: Libunao protected landscape in Sinait; Bigbiga protected landscape in Mazoro, Narvacan; Northern Luzon Heroes Hill in Magsaysay, Santa; Bessang pass natural monument in Malaya, Cervantes; Lidlidda protected landscape located in between Lidlidda and Banayoyo; Santa Lucia protected landscape in Salcedo; and the Tirad pass national park in Gregorio del Pilar Quirino, Sigay, Cervantes and Suyo.
Other protected areas in Region I are: Manleluag Spring in Malabobo, Catarataraan, Pacalat, Lawaklangka and Calomboyan Sur in Mangatarem, Pangasinan; Hundred Islands in Alaminos City; Agoo Damortis protected landscape and seascape in Agoo, Sto. Tomas and Rosario, La Union; and the Naguilian Watershed at Brgy. Casilagan, also in La Union.
PAMB is an administrative body composed of all the local government units and tribal communities in charge of regulating the protected area.
However, with the passage of Republic Act 10629, which President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III signed in September 2013, at least 75 percent of the income generated by protected areas by the PAMB, can now be used by stakeholders to develop and sustain its eco-tourism potential.
The remaining 25 percent of the total earnings will still go to the national treasury for the utilization of other national parks in the country.
Income generated by protected areas comes from entrance fees paid by tourists, payment for the lease of areas used by tourism concessionaires, contributions from industries and facilities directly benefitting from the protected area. (CHERRY JOY D. GARMA/PIA1-Ilocos Norte)