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PanayCon
Panay Eco-Social Conservation Project
      
Community-based work for sustainable development on Panay
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Content:
     Introduction
     The area and its inhabitants
     Livelihood and agricultural improvement
     Conservation awareness programs for sustainable development
     Ecotourism


     Nature for the people
 
     Maps of areas of operation

     History and work of PanayCon / former PESCP

Community


Introduction

The areas of operation of the PanayCon (formerly PESCP) are most important for economic and social development on the sixth largest island of the Philippines. The forests of Panay are watersheds, important for fresh water supply of the island and for agriculture. On Negros, after destruction of 96% of the forest, sugar cane planters reported that there is 50% less water available for agriculture. On Panay, 92% of forests have been destroyed. Beside losses in agriculture, destruction of protective mountain forests leads to erosion and landslides (see figure below), and over-exploitation of natural resources traditionally used in crafts manufacture, construction, medicines, and in general trade affects the economy of the region. Boracay Island with its tourism is dependent on water from the peninsula, and for development of tourism forests and sufficient fresh water supply are necessary. The natural resource base of the two mountain ranges of Panay serves the interests of over 100 barangays (communities) on the peninsula, and over 220 barangays surrounding the Central Panay Mountains.

Our main objectives in this regard are:

  • Protection of the remaining forests of Northwest Panay and the Central Panay Mountains as watersheds and sources of traditionally important natural materials, also avoiding the far greater expense of restoration
  • Protection of the peninsular forests as a genetic resource for restoration of degraded forests in other parts of Panay (seed bank for the propagation of indigenous trees and other native plants)
  • Protection particularly of animal species which are important for the ecosystem, for instance by seed dispersal so important for forest regeneration
  • Rendering of services that assist in diminishing the illegal overexploitation of natural resources (implementing alternative livelihoods)
  • Rehabilitation and release of endangered wildlife species
  • Conservation-related research (comprehensive inventory of terrestrial vertebrates of Panay, population census, behavioural ecology, conservation ethology)
PanayCon maintains linkages with Aklan State University, Silliman University, Philippine Science High School-Main Campus, Green Forum Western Visayas, and coordinates with local NGOs, POs (Peopleís Organisations),  relevant government offices, the PNP (Philipp. Natl. Police), the Military and the Para-Military (CAFGUs) on  Panay, as well as maintaining and increasing contacts through local and national media. Like its fore-runner PESCP, PanayCon was accredited by the Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) of Pandan, Province of Antique, as the implementing arm of the Municipality's biodiversity conservation program.

The area and its inhabitants

The NW Panay peninsula consists of the municipalities of Pandan and Libertad in Antique, and Buruanga, Malay, and Nabas in Aklan. The area contains over 100 barangays with a collective population of over 100,000. We have identified 22 barangays as being key to our immediate conservation efforts, with 7 barangays in or approaching the uplands and therefore of the highest priority. Likewise we conducted community work in four clusters of the 219 barangays in the CPMR (provinces of Antique, Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo). In these barangays, we have initiated livelihood projects in conjunction with conservation education and resource management seminars conducted by the projectís educators. Given sufficient funds these programs will be continued. Since 2000 the project reached out to Central Panay by way of a Wildlife Conservation Education Program designed to interdict non-sustainable hunting of endangered species that will be replaced with a wider-ranging GIZ/DENR driven Climate Initiative, the CLIMFOR-Panay Program.

Since its reduction of its core budget the project maintains presently only the Rehabilitation, Release and Research segment as well as some forest monitoring whilst its other staff will be partly taken care of by either the CLIMFOR-Panay Program or the LGUs involved. The umbrella NGO PhilinCon will appoint a project manager in due time. Three community organizers (Alexander Alabado, John Espiritu, Sonny Galuego) are working  full time primarily for the education of the local participants, monitoring natural resource extractivism, and implementing alternative livelihoods, presently  low-keyed due to decreased funding. A research assistant, M. Alli, is working for the projectís endangered bird rehabilitation and release program the health aspects of which are overseen by the projectís vet Dr. E. Sanchez. Other personnel contributing to PanayCon is to include a liaison officer, assisting in  community resource management, forest monitoring and education program. B. Tacud serves as an extremely gifted field research officer at PanayConís upland Research Station in the NW Panay Peninsula. N. Bagac, a long time supporter of the project, is taking care of our captive birds, together with J. Jamangal, E. Geronimo and M. Melchor.  A hornbill nest protection  scheme in the CPMR needs revamping to make it sustainable. .
 

Current efforts

See our page about the importance of the forest for the people,
about our work for forest protection, reforestation and watershed management

Watershed management: see our page about forest protection

 

Livelihood and agricultural improvement

PanayCon (formerly PESCP) has initiated livelihood projects in communities identified as having the greatest impact on wildlife and other natural resources. One of the project's facilitators with previous development experience is largely focused on these programs which include a contractual obligation by POs to commit to conservation. An extension of this process is of high priority for biodiversity protection and sustainable resource management. Livelihood and agricultural improvement will merge with reforestation by emphasizing agroforestry at the interface between biodiversity management and sustainable resource use in communities. Many of the materials traditionally used in crafts manufacture, construction, medicines, and in general trade have been or are being depleted to unsustainable levels, and should be cultivated along with inter cropping of food crops in a multiple use zone. Technology transfers and resource development are, in part, within the reach of the mentioned CLIMFOR-Panay Program financing biodiversity protection, reforestation  and agroforestry in conjunction with the DENR Region VI. It is based on the Critical Habitat to be protected, i. e. areas that are home to at least one critically endangered species, as stipulated by the new Wildlife Act. Continuous funding, however, is still insufficient to implement programs of these types sustainably, and it is imperative that they are implemented under the supervision of a conservation organization at this stage of developing awareness for the environment. PhilinCon, through its implementer PanayCon, is actively soliciting funding from several sources for an extension of its Alternative Livelihood Program..
 

Conservation awareness programs for sustainable development

Conservation education

As far as conservation awareness programs and education are concerned, the PanayCon (formerly PESCP) has largely operated in the NW Panay peninsula, but since 2001 a much needed extension program in Central Panay was commenced. This program is now being replaced with the wider-ranging CLIMFOR-Panay Project spread over all four  provinces of Panay.
We try to frame our objectives in an historical, economic, and cultural context. Pending an increase in funding, we emphasize the following objectives:
:

  • To help people understand the benefits of a healthy environment, and how their behaviour affects the environment now and in the future.
  • To increase awareness in communities, government, and media that the conservation of natural resources is of immediate and critical economic importance and that conservation minimises the far greater expense of landscape restoration.
  • To organize the many levels of society and government in fora and provide knowhow for pro-environment action and jurisdiction. This includes LGUs and Provincial Government, and is best manifest in PanayCon's facilitation of the NW Panay Biodiversity Management Council consisting of LGU Executive and other municipal representation, the DENR, and the PanayCon itself. Yet illegal logging and hunting are ongoing. Therefore PanayCon had been organizing an effective forest guarding system that needs to be revamped now under the aegis of the GIZ/DENR project mentioned..


Ecotourism is a potentially vital component to environmental management. Provincial planners in Antique and Aklan and the National Executive Office put strong emphasis on ecotourism specifically, and tourism in general; an Aklan Tourism Taskforce has been established (Executive Order No. 6). On Boracay Island, over-development led to environmental problems. Such impacts may, in part, be mitigated through expanding the venue for tourism in the area. To forestall its undesired consequences PanayCon is advising developers on Boracay on environment-friendly expansion and direct protection of wildlife. Protection of the remaining forests of Northwest Panay and the CPMR is a keystone to potential ecotourism, and sustainable development of tourism in these areas is important. However, unless ecotourism is developed professionally and with sufficient revenues to the communities concerned, it will inevitably falter as has become abundantly clear in other places the world over.
Literature
 

Under optimal conditions, we would employ more people at the grass roots for greater duration. With an increase in funding, we would implement additional livelihood projects, emphasizing reforestation and agroforestry in association with existing POs. The project needs to expand its community education campaign into Central Panay.
 

Support  needed

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Panay Eco-Social Conservation Project  -  Conservation Biology Unit, Ruhr-University Bochum
Last amendment: 15 June 2013