The provincial government of Southern Leyte conducted on June 29 its 2015 Environment Summit and Awarding of Most Environment-Friendly LGUs, simultaneous with the commemoration of the 55th (Emerald Green) provincial founding anniversary at the provincial capitol coliseum.

newcapp envisumit2015 largeHeads and representatives of LGUs-awardees posed for a group photo with Gov. Mercado, Dir. Sibbaluca, and Dir. Lim (L-R).Southern Leyte Gov. Roger Mercado highlighted the contribution of various local government units (LGUs) in biodiversity conservation especially within the vicinity of Mt. Nacolod, a key biodiversity area (KBA) and one of the local conservation area (LCA) pilot sites of the New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project (NewCAPP).

Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Theresa Mundita Lim, also the National Project Director of NewCAPP, presented Southern Leyte’s most environment-friendly municipal government first-place award to Mayor Napoleon Cuaton of Saint Bernard town and second-place award to Mayor Fe Edillo of Macrohon town.

Director Lim also presented the fourth-place award to Mayor Oliver Ranque of Libagon town. Hinunangan town, which won the third-place award, sent a representative through its Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO).

Aside from Gov. Mercado and Dir. Lim, the others who co-presented the awards for most environment-friendly municipal and barangay LGUs were Southern Leyte Rep. Damian Mercado, DENR Region 8 Director Leonardo Sibbaluca, and Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member and Environment Committee Chair Daisy Llaenes.

Through the assistance of NewCAPP, the provincial lawmaking body of Southern Leyte passed an ordinance in October 2012 declaring Mt. Nacolod as a Forest Protected Area, covering the original Nacolod Forest Reserve due to the ecological significance of the landscape.

Also through NewCAPP, the five municipalities of Southern Leyte and two municipalities of (Northern) Leyte have decided to collaborate in developing a Conservation Management Framework for this KBA. The framework was envisioned to guide and consolidate conservation efforts of all concerned stakeholders by increasing community awareness, enforcing socially acceptable land use plans and zoning ordinances, securing sustainable financing, and implementing an effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism.

With its various IUCN-vulnerable and threatened species, Mt. Nacolod is a KBA which straddles the municipalities of Silago, Saint Bernard, Hinunangan, Libagon, and Sogod in Southern Leyte, and Mahaplag and Abuyog in (Northern) Leyte province. It hosts two significant watersheds in the region: the Buac Watershed Forest Reserve and Hinabian-Lawigan Watershed Reservation.

For more info, see a photo essay of the event. #

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