CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Camiguin must ensure that its ecosystem and natural resources remain intact and protected by not overcrowding the island-province with more visitors that it could handle, Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said.
More than half a million tourists visiting Camiguin from January to September last year, Romualdo said.
Because of the influx of tourists, the provincial government has implemented a population carrying capacity measure.
“We are happy to share that we have started last year first steps towards establishing carrying capacity limits in our ecotourism sites to be able to determine the maximum number of individuals that can be sustained by the environment and sustain that number in the future,” the governor told local officials and government employees during his State of the Province Address held at the Camiguin Convention Center in Mambajao town, Camiguin, on Tuesday evening (Jan. 7).
Carrying capacity means the number of people, other living organisms, or crops that an area can support without environmental degradation.
“Before we wanted to have as many people coming in. But it wasn’t right. There should be a carrying capacity to sustain all our environments,” he said.
Taking into consideration the 11.56 percent in commercial aircraft movement and seven percent rise in airplane passenger traffic last year, Romualdo said there is a need to take further action to protect and conserve Camiguin’s ecosystem amid the increase in the number of tourists.
To concretize the carrying capacity policy, he said the province’s climate adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction center must ensure that all policies, laws and regulations, and ordinances pertaining to the conservation of the island’s environment and natural resources are enforced.
Already, the provincial environment and natural resources office has carried out numerous programs aligned with the environment department’s national priorities, including the expanded national greening program, enhanced biodiversity conservation, scaling up of marine and coastal ecosystem, improved land administration and management, intensified forest protection, and anti-illegal logging.
In the greening program, efforts were initiated in 2017 and 2018 to establish a 50-hectare bamboo plantation along riverbanks and the enrichment of the mangrove forest covering three hectares.
Romualdo said the campaign to switch to organic farming has started and will soon be adopted all over the province.
He said food security is one of his administration’s priorities so Camiguin will not have to rely on agricultural produce from farmers in the mainland.
While rhere are clear economic gains in having numerous investments in Camiguin, Romualdo said everybody, both visitors and residents, has to make sure that the island’s environment is healthy and that its tourist sites are maintained so these could be enjoyed by more people for years to come. (davaotoday.com)