Calapan, Oriental Mindoro — The Marine Protected Area and Law Enforcement Network reorientation and renewal of commitment held last February 22, 2017 in the Tamaraw Hall of the Provincial Capitol in Calapan City was a crucial gathering of over a hundred resource managers to reaffirm the coastal and marine biodiversity commitment of the 12 coastal municipalities and 1 city in Oriental Mindoro.

The event also showcased the awarding of incentives for Best Managed MPAs and Best Performing Bantay Dagat Teams in Oriental Mindoro with four (4) Malampaya Foundation (MFI) and PGOM-PAGO focal sites garnering the Top 5 Slots. The competitive atmosphere during the event gained the attention of the Municipal Mayors to invest more for their MPAs and Bantay Dagat Teams.

The cooperation amongst the coastal municipalities is aimed at improving the management of the Network of MPAs and the establishment of more than 300,000-hectare fisheries management zone spanning the entire coastline of the province and implementation of its first seasonal closure commencing November 15, 2017 until January 15, 2018.

This move is expected to rehabilitate the depleted fishery resources of the province and generate food and income to the millions of fisherfolks of Oriental Mindoro as well as its neighboring Provinces. The social, technical and legal preparation is being led by the Provincial Agriculture Office and MFI and is foreseen to be completed by October of this year.

The renewal of commitment of the Network-member LGUs will push a step further the improved management of MPAs and fishery resources in Oriental Mindoro forged thru a Memorandum of Agreement, the signing of pacts between and among neighboring coastal municipalities to settle boundary disputes and finalize municipal water lines, and a unified fishery ordinance for the seasonal closure.

MFI and the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro are partners in implementing a comprehensive marine biodiversity conservation-coastal resource management program since 2013 which employs grass-roots-based approach in implementation.