DENR Bicol draws plan to further protect Bicol Natural Park

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bicol has come up with a comprehensive strategy to further strengthen the protection and conservation of Bicol Natural Park (BNP) in Camarines Provinces.

“These strategies will provide solutions to various issues that are besetting the BNP which is contributing to further degradation of the protected area (PA)” said DENR Bicol Regional Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales.

Director Gonzales enumerated the approaches that the DENR will be adapting like strengthening the Protected Area staff by supplementing manpower/support; monitoring cases filed against poachers and illegal settlers; capacity building workshops for field personnel (paralegal); comprehensive info campaign on the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS); push for the co-management of the protected area with the local governments; empowerment of the peoples organizations (POs) and issuance of resource utilization permit (RUP); intensifying the implementation of “no charcoal making policy” in the BNP by patrolling and no issuance of permit.

“Only by doing these (strategies) will we be ensuring that the BNP is well-protected from instances of encroaching by illegal settlers” Gonzales emphasized by citing the need for the forest occupants to clear out from the protected forest.

Alongside this new development, the regional office also considers implementing management zoning in the protected area, the strict protection zone and the multi-use zone. The former refers to areas with high bio-diversity value which shall be closed to human activity except for scientific studies and/or ceremonial or religious use by indigenous communities while the latter pertains to areas where settlement, traditional or sustainable land use including agriculture, agroforestry, extraction activities and other income generating or livelihood activities, may be allowed to the extent as prescribed by the PAMB.

Meanwhile, RED Gonzales directed Protected Areas Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS) Regional Technical Director Felix Mendoza to further study the plans for the BNP and for the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers (PENRO) of Camarines Provinces to adopt initial measures on intensifying mobile patrolling and and the conduct of checkpoints along the various entry and exit points straddling the forest.

The Bicol Natural Park is a protected area with an expanse of 5,201 hectares (has) and an elevation of 100-538 meters above sea level. It is located in the Camarines provinces - sprawling along the towns of Basud and San Lorenzo Ruis at the side of Camarines Norte including  Lupi and Sipocot at the border of Camarines Sur.

Press Release: March 14, 2013