The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, barangay concerned, law enforcement agencies, and stakeholders laid out anew the management zones for Snake Island as National Center for Marine and Coastal Research (NCMCR).
In one important gathering recently, the DENR appealed to the City Government and other stakeholders to further strengthen the protection and conservation of the Snake Island.
“Sana mas maganda para bawat isa sa atin ay magtulong-tulong para sa nag-iisa pong ideklarang NCMCR sa buong Pilipinas. Napakapalad tayo,” said Rhodora Ubani, Supervising Ecosystem Management Specialist of the Conservation and Management Sector of DENR-PENRO Palawan.
The then DENR Secretary Ramon Paje issued DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2011-12 establishing Snake Island as site of the National Coastal and Marine Center for Research (NCMCR), nine years ago.
Present during the meeting were the personnel of the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources Officer headed the City ENRO, Atty. Carlo B. Gomez, the members of the Bantay Dagat, Philippine National Police (PNP)-Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group, barangay officials of Tagburos, Sta. Lourdes, Manalo, and other barangays within the Honda Bay, whose roles in the enforcement of fishery laws and ordinances are vital to the protection and management of the island.
“Sana po sa pag-uusap na ito ay magkakaroon ng mas malinaw na pag-uunawa sa Snake Island at sa ating roles para mapangalagaan ito. Partner sa protection kasi tayo po ay may participation sa enforcement,” Ubani told partners.
Genesis Ustares, technical staff of the Conservation and Development Sector of the DENR-Palawan said that strengthened monitoring and enforcement in the island by various agencies will benefit the whole of Honda Bay.
“Pag nagkaroon ng effective monitoring and enforcement buong Honda Bay makikinabang. Nakakalungkot nung survey nung 2016 si Snake Island ay practically overfished,” he said.
Atty. Carlo B. Gomez, the City Environment and Natural Resources Officer said that the island is within the territorial jurisdiction of Puerto Princesa, and their office can provide more than enforcement for Snake Island.
He expressed support to management plan of Snake Island and commit to provide necessary assistance.
The City ENRO conducted Waterbird Assessment in the area, and recently, observed the presence of migratory birds, Malaysian plover (Charadrius peronii) and Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata) even during off-migration season.
The Snake Island’s sand area is only 39 hectares, while its mangroves has 25 hectares. It has a total area of 65.55 hectares.
Snake Island has been among the most popular tourist spots in due to its S-shaped sandbar. It has been envisioned to become an exhibition area for three ecosystems— coral reef, sea grass beds (from monocotyledon plant group of grasses, lilies and palms that form underwater meadows) and mangroves.
Fishery stocks, including caesionid (dalagang bukid) and jacks (talakitok), have been restored as surface fishes, and groupers (lapu-lapu), acanthurids (labahita), siganids (danggit) and damsel fish (palata) as bottom dwellers. The rehabilitation of Snake Island is part the government’s program to restore the health of natural resources.