Batangas City, Batangas — Malampaya Foundation (MFI) signed its first conservation agreement for Batangas at barangay San Agapito in Isla Verde, Batangas City on March 2, 2017, to kick off a comprehensive marine biodiversityconservation-coastal resource management program in partnership with the community.

The covenant is MFI’s 31st since signing its first marine-related conservation agreement in 2013 in Palawan which aims to implement a marine biodiversity program that is grassroots-based in approach. The program involves four major keystones covering social mobilisation and advocacy, ecological assessments, ecological rehabilitation and socio-economic improvement.

From 2013-2016, MFI has helped in establishing nearly 20,000 hectares of new marine protected areas in various locations in north Palawan and Oriental Mindoro in partnership with local communities, local governments and protected area offices (in program sites that are designated national parks). This is complemented with capacity building of local communities and volunteers in various conservation actions such as deputation as wardens, reef monitoring, policy formation and implementation, coastal resource management, reforestation, community waste management provision of supplemental livelihoods, employment generation and others.

The conservation agreement was signed by Batangas City mayor Beverly Dimacuha, MFI President Belinda Racela, Bgy San Agapito Chairman Edmar Rieta and Association of San Agapito Fisherfolks Chairman Eufronio Baylon.