The Global Environment Facility (GEF) supported interventions under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) covers five (5) Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the Bicol Region particularly in the province of Sorsogon and Masbate.

GEF aims to strengthen the conservation of the coastal and marine resources based on the targeted program areas through natural resources, biodiversity conservation and fisheries resources management.

To ensure that this objective is attained and the activities be competently implemented, the PRDP-GEF Natural Resource Management (NRM) had sought assistance from RARE, Inc., a consulting firm with extensive experience in natural resources-coastal and fisheries resources management planning and plan preparation with LGUs, national government agencies and rural communities in the country.

RARE will support the initiatives of PRDP-GEF-NRM Unit through technical assistance to enhance partner LGUs’ and communities’ capacity in coastal and fisheries resources management and implementation in a sustainable manner. It includes capacity building for enhanced knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies in participatory formulation of holistic “LGU-based Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Resources Management Cum Sustainability Plan (ICFRM-SP), and Strategic Awareness Campaign Approaches with corresponding policies, systems and procedures for effective coastal and marine ecosystems management.

RARE Inc. will train local conservation leaders to change the way their communities relate to nature. It uses a social marketing campaign called “Pride Campaign” which inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their community unique while introducing practical alternatives to environmentally destructive practices.

The RARE team headed by Ms. Neneth Clenuar and Ms. Aileen Bellen visited the five GEF sites to know the stakeholders and the current situation of the area. They facilitated FISHMARK to know the level of their fisheries management and focus group discussion (FGD) to determine the interventions that they can offer to the stakeholders.

The scores from the FISHMARK were immediately discussed with the LGUs for them to realize the things that they need to enhance and develop. According to the results most of the GEF sites are good at Fisheries Legislation and Regulation also, in Fisheries Law Enforcement.

Primary and secondary data were collected in preparation for the crafting of Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Resources Management Sustainability Plan. Further activities will be organized by GEF-NRM team together with RARE Inc. to attain a harmonious implementation of PRDP-GEF subprojects.  (Michelle Angela G. Alfigura, DA-PRDP RPCO 5 InfoACE Unit)