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Ecological Amelioration of Sustainable Development
Palompon is one of the oldest and biggest municipalities in the province of Leyte. It used to be a haven of diverse mangrove species, local and migratory birds and coral reef formations that provided a favorable spawning ground for marine life. However, during the past 10-20 years, indiscriminate cutting of mangroves, unregulated catching of fish during spawning seasons, rampant illegal fishing, uncontrolled extraction of coral stones and other destructive fishing methods were left unchecked and led to serious deterioration of valuable marine resources. The wanton destruction of these resources threatened the livelihood of 80-90 percent of the residents in the coastal barangays.
This program was launched to restore, protect and manage the marine resources through the passage and strict enforcement of municipal ordinances related to the environment, massive IEC campaigns, networking and community organizing for livelihood projects. After more than a year of program implementation, cutting of mangroves, illegal and destructive fishing methods, extraction of coral stones and hunting of birds in the islands had been totally stopped. Fishers who used illegal and destructive methods before now employed sustainable fishing methods like fish corals, bamboo fish traps, spear fishing and hook and line. The fisher whose average catch was between 3-4 kilos for 10 hours of fishing reported that their catch increased to 4-7 kilos for 6-8 hours of fishing. In Tabuk Islet, around 2,000 wild ducks and other migratory birds belonging to more than 20 rare species feast over fish and other marine products and playfully enjoy the serenity of the area. A night tour around the Tabuk island showed schools of fish of different species leaping out of the sea and dashing in all directions. Palompon had enforced the approved ordinances and legislations through citizen action, police powers, intensive surveillance and public vigilance. The program’s effectiveness had raised public morale and developed the people’s confidence in their municipal government.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1997 Galing Pook Awards.
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