The Economic Development Committee (EDC) of the Regional Development Council VI held its 2nd quarter meeting last June 1, 2023 at the NFA VI Training Center, Iloilo City. The committee discussed several issues that impact environmental sustainability and productive use of the region’s natural resources. Among the discussants during the meeting were Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran, who presented DENR VI’s on-going activities towards the inclusion of the Bulabog Puti-an Natural Park (BPNP) as a protected area under RA 7586 (NIPAS Act) as amended by RA 11038 (ENIPAS Act).

The BPNP was reserved as a natural park through Proclamation No. 760 dated June 14, 61 by Pres. Carlos P. Garcia. It comprises a total area of 854.33 hectares covering several barangays in the municipalities of Dingle and San Enrique in the province of Iloilo.  The BPNP has already complied most of the prescribed requirements including the preparation of the initial protected area plan. It has passed the NIPAS Regional Review Committee subject to the issuance of a resolution and has a pending bill (HB  6133) at the House Committee on Natural Resources introduced by Cong. Ferjenel G. Biron. The BPNP is home to diverse and endangered flora and fauna and is found to have archaeological, paleontological, historical and cultural value. Some of its areas are being utilized for ecotourism and research. Taking these into consideration, the Committee manifested its support for the establishment of the Bulabog Puti-an Natural Park as a protected area under the NIPAS to ensure its sustainable conservation and management.

Moreover, EDC Chairperson  and concurrent RDC Co-Chairperson  Atty. Jobert A. Peñaflorida of PCCI-Western Visayas facilitated the thorough deliberation and discussion of each of the following agenda items which the Committee favorably endorsed to the RDC VI Full Council for its appropriate action: a) Slow Food Travel Itinerary in Western Visayas presented by DOT Regional Director Crisanta Marie Rodriguez; b) the creation of a Technical Working Group for the development of the Western Visayas Blue Economy Corridor; c) funding of several proposed FMR projects in the Province of Iloilo and Guimaras which DA VI has validated to be technically feasible; d) pull-out/phase out of World Health organization-identified extremely and highly hazardous pesticides in the Philippine agricultural market; and e) acceptance of NFA VI’s application for EDC membership.

After the meeting, the members went on a guided tour to NFA VI’s warehouse and rice processing facilities to learn more about their regional operations.(RCYap/PDIPBD)