Jan. 30, 2011 - SIARGAO ISLAND - The local government unit of Del Carmen, Siargao Islands, has stepped up efforts for environmental protection and conservation as it seeks to carve a niche in adventure tourism.
Mayor JR M. Coro believes that environmental sustainability is the linchpin of a successful tourism campaign, and goes hand in hand in maintaining robust income opportunities for the local folks.
Home to some of Mother Nature’s awe-inspiring wonders, Del Carmen is home to what is considered the largest contiguous mangrove stand in the country.
Its unique biodiversity has attracted many nature-lovers and biologists, including former DENR secretary Angel Alcala, who brought along with him experts from the National Museum in a recent visit.
“Del Carmen has many species that have yet to be discovered. Its marine ecosystem is teeming with life, and experts from the National Museum are poised to probe more because they were intrigued during their first visit,” the young mayor said.
But challenges remain
Mayor Coro said much has to be done to avoid environmental degradation. Upon assuming office in June, the mayor’s first order of business was to gather all stakeholders to confront a host of environmental issues.
“I told them that if we want to attract tourist and improve the livelihood of our residents, we have to step up our campaign efforts to preserve the environment,” he said. “It’s the number one requirement.”
One of the town’s major concerns is the proper waste disposal –- a problem so common among riverbank settlers.
The mayor plans to centralize garbage collection in a partnership scheme that involves the town’s 30 barangays.
Another option, he said, is to fully enforce Republic Act 9003, also known as the Solid Waste Management Act.
Toward this end, the young chief executive said he has already asked the support of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to choose his town as a pilot area for planned solid waste management facility.
All these plans and visions, the mayor said, are geared towards protecting the town’s flora and fauna and, by extension, the life of the town itself. (Roel Catoto/PIA-Surigao del Norte)