Dumanquillas Bay protected landscape and seascape (DBPLS) turns 16

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The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) held the 16th anniversary celebration of DBPLS in Barangay Danan, Vicenzo Sagun, Zamboanga del Sur with a simple program, lunch and games – the first celebration that happened in 16 years of its existence as a protected area.

In attendance were DENR personnel led by ZDS PENRO Adelaida Borja, Protected Area Supt. (PASu) Alicia C. Dimaporo, Coral Triangle Initiative Officer Amida Diwata Jasma, and PAMB officials coming from six (6) municipalities, municipal officials and PNP members led by MayorMerlinda P. Maata of Vincenzo Sagun, uniformed men from 53rd IB/ 1st Infantry Division- Philippine Army and representatives from the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur.

The Dumanquillas Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape (DBPLS) was officially established on August 10, 1999 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No.158, issued by then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada pursuant to the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Act. The DBPLS composed of 25,948 hectares covering the two provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur. Specifically, the DBPLS embraces the coastal waters of six municipalities of: Margosatubig, Lapuyan, Kumalarang, and Vincenzo Sagun of Zamboanga del Sur, and Buug and Malangas under the jurisdiction of Zamboanga Sibugay.

Over the past decades, the DBPLS has been subjected to severe human-induced pressures, such as encroachment, overexploitation of resources and destructive activities. Unless immediate protection and conservation actions are undertaken, the condition of DBPLS will worsen and the trend of degradation may become irreversible.

In her message during the program, PENRO Borja expressed thanks to all who attended and made the said event possible. In behalf of the DENR family headed by Regional Director Arleigh J. Adorable, she congratulated the PAMB officials and members coming from the six contiguous municipalities who are responsible for the sustainable management of the Bay’s fishery resources, protection of threatened marine habitats, and conservation of its rich biodiversity while Mayor Maata conveyed greetings from the local chief executives of five LGUs concerned who were on official travel and vowed to support all activities approved by the PAMB for the betterment of DBPLS.

In the afternoon, a series of games were held and winners were awarded with cash prizes afforded by PAMB officials: Bugsay Raising, Tug of War, Coco Sap (tuba) Drinking, Longest Breath pronouncing DBPLS, and “Balak”.Anniversary T-shirts were also distributed to participants for pictorials.

The Dumanquillas Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape (DBPLS) encompasses vast land and aquatic ecosystems of great importance to human and other life forms. It is a main fishing ground and source of income for thousands of fisher folk inhabiting the surrounding six municipalities in the two provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay. It is also a known spawning ground of different species of sardines – making it one of the country’s most productive fishing areas for pelagic species. Other than fisheries, the bay boasts of biologically diverse coastal habitats and resources as well as outstanding physical features and natural landmarks that can be developed for ecotourism.