IN a move to promote ecotourism in the Ilocos Region, the Philippine Area Management Board (PAMB) in collaboration with tribal communities is focused on developing at least 15 protected areas in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan provinces.
Gwendolyn Bambalan, assistant regional director for technical services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said the PAMB is eyeing the protected areas to develop sustainable enterprises that will benefit local communities and stakeholders.
“PAMB members from the four provinces in the Ilocos Region are currently undertaking capability building seminar to ensure they are ready to implement new innovations in protected area management,” she added.
The PAMB is an environment administrative body composed of all the local government units and tribal communities in charge of regulating the protected areas.
The PAMB-identified protected areas in Ilocos Norte are the Kalbario-Patapat Natural Park in Pagudpud; Tanap Watershed Forest Reserve in Burgos, Metropolitan Ilocos Norte Watershed Forest Reserve in Sulbec, Pasuquin; and the Paoay Lake National Park in Paoay.
The protected areas in Ilocos Sur are the Libunao Protected Landscape in Sinait, Bigbiga Protected Landscape in Mazoro, Narvacan; Northern Luzon Heroes Hill in Magsaysay, Santa; Bessang Pass Natural Monument in Malaya, Cervantes; Lidlidda Protected Landscape in Lidlidda and Banayoyo; Santa Lucia Protected Landscape in Salcedo; and the Tirad Pass National Park in Gregorio del Pilar in Quirino, Sigay, Cervantes and Suyo.
Other protected areas are the Manleluag Spring in Malabobo, Catarataraan, Pacalat, Lawaklangka and Calomboyan Sur in Mangatarem, Pangasinan; Hundred Islands in Alaminos City; Agoo Damortis Protected Landscape and Seascape in Agoo, Santo Tomas and Rosario, La Union; and the Naguilian Watershed in Casilagan village in La Union.
With the passage of Republic Act 10629 in September 2013, 75 percent of the income generated by PAMB protected areas can now be used by stakeholders to develop and sustain its eco-tourism potential, while 25 percent will go to the national treasury for the utilization of other national parks in the country.
Bambalan said income generated comes from entrance fees by tourists, payment for the lease of areas used by tourism concessionaires, contributions from industries and facilities directly benefitting from the protected area.