BUSUANGA, Palawan – C3 Philippines project with the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) on mangrove and marine protected area (MPA) rehabilitation draws to a close. The local communities involved in the project are on the last stages of rehabilitation as they repair and reconstruct their MPA guardhouses.
The Concepcion and Sagrada Bogtong MPAs are supported by the local government of Busuanga, which employs four local fishermen as fish wardens to patrol and enforce laws in the protected area. However, patrolling after Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) has been difficult lately when their guardhouses were damaged by the super typhoon. One guardhouse was partially destroyed and two guardhouses were totally swept away and lost during the typhoon.
These guardhouses are anchored in deep water near the MPAs and are extremely important as they serve as the observation point for the fish wardens to monitor activity in the area. However, after Typhoon Yolanda destroyed their guardhouses, the fish wardens stay in their small patrol boats during the entire 8-hour shifts and makes area monitoring and observation much more challenging and tiring.
One of the fish wardens Kagawad Nilo, who is also a local leader, says, “Pinamadali ko na nga yung paggawa nung guardhouse.” I have asked them to hurry up and finish the guardhouse already. The guardhouse is almost finished and he is very excited to put it back in place.
He has also approached a local dive shop for assistance on tying it back on its cement anchor and they have gladly expressed their support for getting the guardhouse back into place. Other forms of support have also contributed to the rehabilitation of the MPA assets such as extra drums for the floating guardhouse donated from a nearby pearl farm, and two extra patrol boats for the MPAs through donations after Typhoon Yolanda.