Dayangayag Marine Sanctuary in Sta. Monica legal, says SIPLAS-FMC

Surigao del Norte (June 25) -- The Siargao Islands Protected Landscape and Seascapes - FOCAS Management Committee (SIPLAS-FMC) of the Australian Agency for International Development - Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (AusAusAID-PACAP) in Surigao del Norte, issued a press statement recently to clarify some points pertaining to the unfortunate incident in Barangay Rizal, Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte which resulted in the relocation of the project of the Dayangayag Marine Sanctuary, a AusAID-PACAP Assisted Project.

Contrary to some irresponsible allegations, and erroneous reports that the said project is illegal and illegitimate, the SIPLAS-FMC revealed that the, "Dayangayag Marine Sanctuary is one of the components of the Integrated Resource Management Initiatives (IRMIS) in Sta. Monica.

A 2.5 year project implemented by the Surigao del Norte People's Initiative for Development Association (SNPIDA) with the funding assistance of the AusAID under PACAP. The project in its concept, strategies, components and activities was developed in 2006 with the support and approval of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of the Municipality of Sta. Monica, and the officials of the three (3) target barangays, namely: Rizal, T. Arlan and Magsaysay. The latter is reflected in the Joint Resolution of the three (3) barangays adopted in April 2007."

"The establishment of the Dayangayag Marine Sanctuary was based on the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by the incumbent Local Chief Executive last July 2007 during the formal project launching attended by the POs, LGU Officials and the Secretariate and some members of the SIPLAS FMC and representatives from the DENR," it stated.

Moreover, SIPLAS-FMC revealed that the agreed location for the Sanctuary is Barangay Rizal, with an indicative area covering at least ten (10) hectares. However, during the Participatory Community Resource Assessment (PCRA) conducted by the SNPIDA with the technical assistance and supervision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Marine Sanctuary was recommended to include a total of fifty-five (55) hectares in consideration to the actual conditions of the corals and other technical basis.

And for the past three (3) months, with their 24-hour patrolling and installation of a Bio-Diversity Monitoring Station in the area. They have already apprehended violators using active gears and a number of abalone hunters. Also, the Sangguniang Bayan Resolution formally confirmed the Dayangayag Marine Sanctuary is at present under review, pending the finalization of the size/hectare to be included in the sanctuary and the relocation of its proper coordinates.

Thus, with the aforementioned facts the SIPLAS-FMC declared that the said project is legal, legitimate and mutually agreed development project implemented in Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte. True to all other PACAP-Assisted project, the IRMIS Project promotes and requires pro-active partnership and effective collaboration between the community, the civil society and the local government units and line agencies.

Further, the SIPLAS-FMC enjoined the parties concerned to be responsible and objective in resolving the issue without prejudice to the whole development effort that would benefit the municipality of Sta. Monica, particularly the PO and residents of the partner barangays. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)

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