On September 4, 2020, USAID and Zamboanga City officials observed the ceremonial handover of completed environmental plans for Ayala and Manicahan watersheds and Central Mangrove Forestland, which span more than 83,000 hectares of critical biodiversity. Also turned in was the Zamboanga City Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and new IT equipment for environmental, fisheries and wildlife law enforcement planning and management.
Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco, along with officials and staff of the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) and Office of the City Agriculturist (OCA), officiated the event. Both offices are implementing partners of the USAID Protect Wildlife project.
USAID’s years-long support for OCENR and OCA, through the Zamboanga City Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Task Force (ZCAWTTF) and the Composite Fishery Law Enforcement Team (CFLET), respectively, position its local partners to maintain better their database for recording, retrieving and analyzing data on apprehensions, seizures and other information related to enforcing environmental laws and regulations in Zamboanga City. The enhanced systems will aid the offices’ transition from paper-based to electronic processes, providing for easier filing, documenting, monitoring and updating of cases.
Supplementing the celebration with skill building, USAID hosted an online training for OCENR and OCA personnel on the use of spatial data for terrestrial and marine applications; the development of heat maps for improved deployment of enforcers and operational planning; and the use of Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite for monitoring illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. (PWP/ May Anne Ramos)