Project helps LGU protect sea-A A +A
Sunday, January 13, 2013
RICO “Icoy” Portrias took a picture with the digital camera of a female tourist and exclaimed, “Perpek (Perfect)!”
The 39-year-old tourist guide grinned as he handed the gadget back to the owner, who came to Mantigue Island, Camiguin with her other friends all the way from Cebu City.
“Perfect” is Icoy’s favorite word. He said it is an apt description of Camiguin, the small island province of Northern Mindanao, which according to legend was formed out of volcanic eruptions.
Born in Mantigue Island, Icoy was afflicted by polio, which deformed his right arm. But he said one cannot afford to be sad in Mantigue, which he described as a paradise.
The description applies to the entire Camiguin. Known as the island born of fire because of the presence of seven volcanoes.
Local government officials want to keep Camiguin as it is.
Vice Mayor James Ederango of Mambajao, Camiguin said their public market is not using plastic anymore.
They also protect their sea waters and marine life through the Camiguin Coastal Resource Management Project (CCRMP), a project of the Philippine government that is implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with assistance from the New Zealand Aid Programme.
Aside from Mahinog and Mambajao, CCRMP covers the towns of Catarman, Guinsiliban and Sagay. The five towns have a total of 144,058 hectares of municipal waters.
“CCRMP seeks to address the complex issues of sustainable management of coastal resources and the promotion of sustainable economic activities in Camiguin Province,” the CCRMP primer read.
The province has more than 30 marine protected areas (MPAs), said CCRMP developmental communication specialist Mario Gasalatan.
In MPAs, Gasalatan said, fishermen are not allowed to take any kind of fish. Violators are arrested and penalized.
In Mahinog, Jajalla said, they are regulating motor boats that transport local and foreign tourists to Mantigue Island, so they can assure their safety.
“We are very organized,” he said.
Icoy said he will never leave Camiguin. “Hayahay diri; layo ka sa mga problema (It is so good to live here and you are far from problems),” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 14, 2013.