TAGAYTAY CITY -- On October 1, the Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL) won the Best Protected Area (PA) and the Civil Society Partnership Category at the first Protected Area Awards and Recognition, held by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB).
The DENR created the Protected Area Awards and Recognition to nationally highlight the key players and their innovative practices and initiatives in the field of protected area management.
The award was presented by DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and PAWB Director Theresa Mondita Lim, and was witnessed by Asean country representatives at the 4th Asean Heritage Parks Conference underway in this city.
Enrique Nunez, Conservation International Philippines's (CI) Country executive director, said: “Conservation International is honored to receive this award on behalf of all of those that have worked so hard to implement this protected area. These awards bring attention to the great achievements of protected area management in the Philippines and their importance. Such initiatives are essential to conserve ecosystem services, such as fresh water and food security, for the wellbeing of our people.”
Since 1992, when the National Integrated Protected Areas System (Nipas) Law was passed, the DENR, with support from its partners, has implemented significant milestones in conserving biological diversity and promoting sustainable development in the Philippines.
“There is much is yet to be done to protect our natural environment from pressing direct challenges such as deforestation, watershed loss, growing populations and global climate change. This public support of our work to mitigate these threats gives us even greater confidence in our cause. We hope that our work inspires other such projects in the Philippines, and in the long-term contributes to a society that seeks out green development solutions that contribute to a healthy sustainable society,” said Nunez.
Of the nine protected areas in Palawan, the MMPL and the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP), a 25-year old marine protected area, were nominated.
Several other nominees from the more than 200 protected areas in the country were also part of the selection process.
A third party team of evaluators/reviewers identified the finalists based on the documentation and evidences of accomplishments.
Award categories included: engagement with local communities, partnership with local government units, partnership with private sector, functional institutional organization, maintenance of various ecosystems and law enforcement.