Siquijor Coastal Management Center Opens

SIQUIJOR (PIA) - Siquijor province has been one of the strongest supporters of marine management in the country and the first island in the Philippines to create and implement a marine protected area network, Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation Inc. (CCEF) board secretary and co-founder Evangeline White said during the inauguration of the Provincial Coastal Resource Management (CRM) learning center in Larena, Siquijor recently.

White said that with her husband, CCEF president, Dr. Allan White, the foundation is ''very proud'' to work with the leaders of Siquijor in bringing marine conservation issues to the forefront.

Siquijor has been a partner of CCEF since 2002, when coastal resource management efforts were introduced in the island. Since the establishment of CCEF here, blast fishing has gone down to zero and there has been no reported cases of illegal fishing in seawaters surrounding the island.

Said PCRMC learning center is a joint project of the Siquijor provincial government, CCEF, and the Deutsche Gesselscaft fur Interntionale Zusammenarbeit which is designed to serve as the venue for discussion on marine and coastal conservation efforts of the island.

It was built on a lot donated by Siquijor province and is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Department of State, Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit or German Development Service (DED) and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

''This is the only learning center for the Coastal Resource Management (CRM) Project in the Philippines that is foreign-funded through CCEF,'' Atty. Rose-Liza Eisma Osorio, CCEF executive director said.

Osorio said the learning center is the best symbol of strong implementation of all CRM projects in the island for the last 10 years.

''It is with pride that such a learning center has been established in Siquijor to benefit not only students, farmers and fishermen but local government units (LGUs) as well,'' White said.