Moratorium on resort developments in Calaguas Island seen as an option to improve its management
A DENR Regional Team wants a moratorium on the construction of permanent structures for tourism activities in Calaguas Island, Vinzons, Camarines Norte. This was proposed at the forum in the Island as the Land Evaluation Party found using Global Positioning System that a strip of 20 meters reserved as permanent forest for shoreline protection part of the alienable and disposable released in 1984 is already occupied by some resort developers. Michael Evasco of Land Evaluation Party also observes that the elevation of the area is less than 10 meters above sea level. If the protection forest is not maintained, Barangay Mangcawayan could be affected by storm surges.
Evasco said cadastral map and flooding map should be reviewed and layered to the land classification to verify the metes and bounds of alienable and disposable land leading to the amendment of respective titles. There is a legal easement of 20 meters identified for shoreline protection, Engr. Rudy De la Cruz explains. Salvage zones are within the shoreline. It has many uses including docking and bathing. Owners have preferential rights over foreshore but needs application to obtain a foreshore lease agreement. Occupation, according to Forester Ferdinand Baltazar of DENR, has to have legal basis. There ought to be supporting documents that must be validated based on standard procedures. However, all permanent forests are not subject to occupation.
Regional Director Gilbert C. Gonzales directed the PENROs at the recent management conference for DENR to be present in islands particularly tourist destinations to avert any negative impact of tourism hence, the dialogue. Lands and forestry sectors, Environment Management Bureau representatives, DENR Regional Public Affairs Office and other support services at the PENRO and CENRO of Camarines Norte were present in the forum. The residents and barangay officials were consulted for DENR to identify an area to be set aside as monitoring station of the small island. DENR will be establishing a monitoring station in Calaguas Island in order to protect the island’s natural resources and prevent illegal occupation.
The forum was in keeping with the celebration of the World Environment Day which underscored the importance of island ecosystems and their vulnerability to climate change.