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News: Coastal resource program launched in Zambales - 28 Oct 2007
OLONGAPO CITY —The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and stakeholders in this province launched last week an integrated coastal resource management project (ICRMP) aimed at conserving biodiversity and reducing poverty in coastal communities. 

The project, which is also implemented in five other priority marine biodiversity corridors in the country, will cover 64 coastal barangays in eight municipalities of Zambales, said Florendo B. Banangan, executive director of the Coastal and Marine Management Office (CMMO) of the DENR.
These are the towns of Sta. Cruz, Candelaria, Masinloc, Paluig, Botolan, Cabangan, San Felipe, and  San Antonio.
Banangan said the conservation of marine and coastal resources should be an “obligation” for all stakeholders in the communities.

“Our stewardship obligation should not be taken lightly,” Banangan said during the project launching at the By the Sea Resort in this city.

“We need to restore and conserve our coastal areas because they are one of the most biologically productive components of our ecosystem,” he added.

Rogelio Trinidad, regional technical director of the Protected Areas Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS), said Zambales was chosen because of its “very high” to “high” marine biodiversity significance.
“It is in a strategic location, the communities can potentially benefit from the enhanced management of resources, and there is willingness among the province and municipalities concerned to support the program,” Trinidad said.

He said the project has four components: policy and institutional strengthening and development; ICRM and biodiversity conservation; enterprise development and income diversification; and social and environmental services facilities.

The project, which will be implemented in six years starting 2007, is expected to directly address threats to coral reefs, sea-grass beds, mangroves, and beaches.

Trinidad said that by improving coastal fisheries resources and generating opportunities, the ICRMP will also address two of the root causes of rural poverty in the country: the weak performance of the agricultural sector, and low employment-generation capacity of the economy.

The project is funded jointly by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Global Environment Facility and the government. It will be implemented by the DENR, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the government of Zambales and the municipalities concerned, and residents of coastal communities here.
Zambales Vice-Governor Anne Gordon said the initiative “will definitely boost the economic potentials of our fisher folk as they learn the importance of protecting and caring for the coastal environment to fully benefit from it.”

Source:  www.Philstar.com , Business Section, written by Bebot Sison, Jr., October 28, 2007

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