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Negros Occidental to expand coastal wetlands conservation efforts

BACOLOD: The Negros Occidental provincial government is looking at replicating the award-winning southern-based Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (NOCWCA) in the northern part of the province to sustain its community-based approach to managing coastal resources.

The NOCWCA initiative, titled the ‘Network of Alliances for Coastal Wetlands Conservation,’ was among the areas included in the Negros Study Tour led by the Galing Pook Foundation from March 3 to 8.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who met with visiting representatives of local government units (LGUs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) at the Provincial Capitol on Monday, said NOCWCA is ‘something that we feel can be replicated in any part of the country, especially if you have this long stretch of seafronts.’

‘On our part, we want to replicate it on the north side. Everything starts at home; we’d like to hopefully succeed here also then we start going out and pushing it to other provinces,’ he added.

In 2021, the ‘Network of A
lliances for Coastal Wetlands Conservation’ program made Negros Occidental one of the Top 10 winners of the Galing Pook Awards, which recognizes innovative practices by LGUs.

Situated across 10 localities, the NOCWCA is a contiguous wetlands area with a coastline of 109.52 kilometers, spanning 52 coastal barangays.

It was declared the seventh Ramsar site (wetland of international importance) in the Philippines in 2016.

Meanwhile, the ongoing Negros Study Tour, which covers the cities of Bacolod, Victorias, and Bago in Negros Occidental, is participated by representatives from Tabaco City, Albay and Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte.

‘They are here to benchmark several LGUs, and we presented to them the NOCWCA. They are excited to visit places. They are looking forward to replicating some of the projects and programs of the province and our different LGUs,’ Provincial Environment Management Office head Julie Ann Bedrio said.

The tour is part of the Galing Pook Foundation’s Strengthening Participation and Acco
untability Through CSOs and Engagement with Subnational and National Government or SPACES Project, which promotes collaboration between LGUs and CSOs in the co-creation of food security and nutrition policy reforms and social accountability mechanisms.

Source: Philippines News Agency