Calapan, Oriental Mindoro — Six (6) conservation agreements were renewed yesterday, February 21, 2019 as part of Malampaya Foundation Inc.’s (MFI) Verde Island Passage (VIP) Conservation program in partnership with the Provincial government of Oriental Mindoro, various barangay and local governments and people’s organizations.
Originally signed in 2013, this is the second renewal of the conservation agreements with the partner sites as follows:
• Bgy. Maasin, Bulalacao
• Bgy. Sta. Theresa, Gloria
• Bgys. Banilad and Ranzo, Pinamalayan
• Bgy. Pulantubig, Baco
• Bgy. Tabinay, Puerto Galera
Since the partnership took effect in 2013, several sites have been awarded as Best-Managed Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and bantay dagats in the province. In October 2018, Ranzo in Pinamalayan was awarded 1st place Best-Managed MPA, while Sta. Theresa in Gloria placed 5th.
Among benefits reaped from effective MPA management are increases in fish biomass, diversity and abundance and increasing coral cover. Increased populations of pelagic species are likewise being observed in view of the annual seasonal closure in all coastal municipal waters of Oriental Mindoro from mid-November to mid-January.