Capitol mulls relocating NFEFI center to Panaad

THE Negros Occidental Provincial Government is planning to relocate the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation Inc. (NFEFI) biodiversity conservation center from the Capitol-owned property on the South Capitol Road to the Panaad Park in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City.

Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., chairman of Provincial Board committee on appropriations, budget, finance, ways and means, said the move to relocate the conservation sanctuary aims to place it under the supervision of the Panaad Park.

Also, it would open investment opportunities for the one-hectare property the conservation center is occupying at the South Capitol Road, he said.

The board member said that many are interested in the property as it is located beside the Provincial Capitol and Ayala Capitol Central.

“According to the governor, that is up for grabs. Once we relocate (NFEFI conservation center), we will publish it to whoever wants to rent it (property). Only rent, the governor doesn’t want to sell it,” he said.

Escalante said they will consider all the factors, including the value of the Capitol-owned property and the location at Panaad.

He added that the animals may be disturbed at Panaad Park because of fireworks display during events.

“We will see what will happen. Those concerns were already heard. I hope the Engineering Office can act on it,” he said.

Moreover, during their regular session Wednesday, the Provincial Board approved the resolution authorizing Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to enter into a memorandum of agreement with NFEFI relative to the P720,000 financial assistance that will be extended by the province for the conservation breeding and education of threatened endemic West Visayas species.

The fund will be sourced from the Capitol’s lump sum appropriation for 2017 grants and donations under the Office of the Governor.

Escalante said this is the first time the Provincial Government will extend financial assistance to NFEFI.

He said the non-government organization had been getting aid from an Australian philanthropist/environmentalist, but the latter already passed away.

The board member added it is hard for the center to sustain the operational costs from their own pockets as they spend about P80,000 every month.

Escalante said the Provincial Government will provide P60,000 every month to NFEFI.

He said the organization welcomes the aid of the province.

“Once they transfer, they will only supervise and the province will take care of the expenses because they will be under the property of the province,” Escalante said.

Among the wildlife endemic to the region that can be found at NFEFI conservation center are Visayan warty pig, Visayan spotted deer, Philippine sailfin lizard, Negros boobook (bukaw), pink-bellied imperial pigeon, buff-eared brown dove, bleeding heart pigeon, and white-bellied woodpecker.
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