The province of Palawan once again shone as an inspiration of marine conservation excellence during the Para El Mar 2023 competition, which unfolded in Mandaue City, Cebu, on September 23.
Para El Mar, an event synonymous with “for the sea,” is a distinguished platform orchestrated by the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Support Network (MSN) in close partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Its primary mission is to laud and showcase the Philippines’ most exceptional and dedicated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Siete Pecados Marine Park, nestled in the breathtaking municipality of Coron, emerged triumphant as the Best Locally Managed MPA, surpassing eight other esteemed finalists.
Siete Pecados’ achievement went beyond accolades, as it also secured coveted titles for Best Enforcement and Best in PNP-MG Savior of the Sea.
Furthermore, the Balisungan MPA, also nestled in Coron’s embrace, proudly claimed the 3rd Runner-up position in the fiercely contested Best Mangrove-Managed MPA category.
Adding to the province’s awards, the Calamianes MPA Network received recognition as a runner-up in the MPA Network category.
In total, Palawan garnered a substantial prize of P215,000 for its remarkable contributions to marine preservation.
Of noteworthy mention, this year’s Para El Mar nominees were no strangers to victory, having previously triumphed at the 2nd MPA Summit held in Puerto Princesa just a year earlier.
Every two years, the Provincial Government, through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, conducts the Palawan MPAs Empowered through Awards and Recognition to Enrich Marine Life (PEARL) program, operating within the framework of the Integrated Coastal and Marine Resource Management Program (ICMRMP).
PEARL seeks to honor the tireless contributions of local government units (LGUs) and communities in preserving, shielding, and sustainably managing the province’s coastal and marine resources.
The PEARL awards play a dual role, not just as a form of acknowledgment but also as a launchpad for contestants gearing up for national and global contests. The Provincial Government of Palawan holds a positive outlook for the future, anticipating a rising number of nominees who will shine in Para El Mar.
This optimism stems from the expanding efforts to bolster local government units (LGUs), with valuable support coming from a diverse array of non-governmental organizations operating within the province.