Barely after the final salvo and the local elections smoke cleared in Davao Oriental, outgoing Governor Corazon Malanyaon, now Congresswoman-elect of District I, and re-elected Mayor of Tarragona, Nestor Uy, have signed separate important environmental legislations for their respective province and municipality.

Before stepping down as Governor and assuming her new post as elected Congresswoman of District I in Davao Oriental Province, Malanyaon leaves behind a significant environmental policy upon signing Executive Order No. 8, s. 2016 or the “Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR)” of the Provincial Environment Code of Davao Oriental, previously enacted under Provincial Ordinance No. 13-10-2012 on December 4, 2012. The new IRR will further strengthen their law enforcement and fight against illegal activities on the environment as this defines the penalties and sanctions to be imposed on violators. The Code and its IRR shall also serve as a guide in improving the management and protection of the environment.

This Executive Order is among the success stories of the Environment and Natural Resources Office of Davao Oriental in the implementation of the National (REDD+) Project.

REDD+ stands for “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.” The Project is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), and implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and local partner agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the local government units (LGUs).

At the municipal level, re-elected Mayor of Tarragona Nestor Uy has been handed with fresh mandate of managing the newly declared “Critical Habitat for the Philippine Eagle and Other Threatened Wildlife Species,” which was passed by the Sangguniang Bayan on April 15, 2016.

A rapid biodiversity assessment conducted by the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) discovered a pair of critically endangered Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi) and other threatened wildlife species including the Rafflessia mira, known as the “world’s largest bloom.” This paved the way for the declaration of the Local Conservation Area (LCA).

To manage the LCA properly, they will prepare a Critical Habitat Management Plan and create a Management Council to be chaired by the local chief executive and co-chaired by DENR-Provincial Environment and Natural Resource Office and member representatives from LGU Tarragona, provincial government, people’s organization, NCIP, Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology and PEF, who had been a major partner of the LGU in this endeavor.

According to Mr. Mark Anthony Lawani, Municipal Environment and Natural Resource Officer (MENRO), the implementation of the National REDD+ Project in Tarragona played a pivotal role in the completion and declaration of such LCA as it was during the conduct of the forest land use planning process that the Philippine Eagle Critical Habitat declaration was pursued by the municipality. #


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