NV communities to manage their tourism sites
During the meeting of the Capisaan Cave System Technical Working Group (CCS-TWG) held on January 20, 2022, at the People’s Museum, Bayombong, Engr. Edgardo D. Sabado, Chief of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), presented the policy direction of the Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya (PGNV) towards community-based management and development of protected areas and the ecotourism activities therein.
He said that this thrust is in sync with Executive Order No. 138 issued by the Office of the President concerning the full devolution of basic services and facilities from the national government to local government units (LGUs) that begins this year.
He also cited other related extant national and local laws and regulations aimed at enhancing the ‘right of the people to a balanced ecology’, such as the Cave Protection Act (CPA), Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC), and Local Co-management Agreements on certain conservation areas which include the Palali-Mamparang Mountain Ranges, and the Lower Magat Ecotourism Park in Diadi that was established way back in the 1990s during the administration of then-Governor Rodolfo Q. Agbayani.
“Basically”, he stressed, “the Concept of a Community-based Cave Systems Protection and Eco-Tourism Management is both a model and a strategy aimed at ensuring real sustainable development in the community, as it takes advantage of the far-reaching benefits of the critical factor of ‘sense of project ownership’ among the residents.”
The discussions centered on the scope of the proposed community-based management model for the around 1,000 hectares covering the identified surface area in Kasibu and the cave system beneath it.
“At present, the local cave guides and workers are being widely supported by the PGNV through the Provincial Tourism and Culture Office (PTCO), along with its three well-trained cave guides deployed at the site.”, said Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Marichelle Orden-Costales.
The management model being pushed, with a corresponding Protected Area Management Plan and a component Cave Management Plan, that also takes cognizance of ecotourism activities and other downstream economic opportunities, will spin off the present situation where there is extensive PGNV involvement to a decentralized state whereby the municipal and barangay governments are clothed with a much bigger role therein.
As proposed by the CCS-TWG, the PGNV and DENR, through a multi-disciplinary Steering Committee (SC) along with its adjunct Secretariat and Technical Working Group, shall only be providing the managing community with some policy and technical support, as well as resource augmentation on possible projects therein that have national or provincial significance.
Composing the SC are the Governor as Chairperson, DENR02 Regional Director as Co-chairperson, and the Mayor of Kasibu, Punong Barangay of Capisaan, and an NGO representative as members.
Moreover, the PGNV and DENR will not be a part anymore of the Capisaan Cave Management Office (CCMO), which is being proposed to be led henceforth by the concerned municipal and barangay governments.
Nevertheless, the CCS-TWG shall be providing the needed technical support to the weaned CCMO, including the crafting of Work and Financial Plan and Transition Plan, which is part of its mandate under the model’s 3-year Capacity Development Agenda for the latter and the community at large.