El Nido, Palawan — Two El Nido-based conservation agreements (CA’s) were renewed yesterday, March 13, 2018, by Malampaya Foundation (MFI) with its partner communities, Barangays Buena Suerte and Bucana.

MFI signed the original CA’s with the two coastal communities in 2014 to implement a grassroots-based marine biodiversity conservation-coastal resource management program that heavily involves communities' residents in direct conservation actions.

Since 2014, the Maitre marine protected area (MPA) in Bgy Buena Suerte has been expanded from 23 hectares to over 100 hectares, where a ranger station was likewise formally established for enforcement. Steady increases in indicator fishes such as butterfly fish and reef recovery in the Maitre no-take-zone were likewise observed from 2013 to 2017.

Partner community organisations in the two barangays have likewise been active for environmental activities such as reforestation efforts and clean-ups, among others.

Main signatories to the CA were MFI President Belinda Racela, EL Nido mayor Nieves Rossento, people’s organisation leaders Policarpio Ramos and Pleni Candelario, Barangy chairmen Aracel Bacolod (Bucana) and Ricky Ballena (Buena Suerte) and DENR Protected Area Superintendent Alexander Mancio.