Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, Center Head of the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands, and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) recently met with the Regional Director of the Negros Island Region (NIR), Al O. Orolfo to discuss future collaborations on potential Research, Development, and Extension (RDE) projects that will focus largely on biodiversity conservation and protection. Negros Island supports a unique biodiversity that includes many endemic plants and animals, including wetlands and its rich biodiversity known to be the vanishing treasures, hence the need for immediate conservation action.

Discussion between the two officials occurred during the recently held BCWERC Mid-Year Assessment event last July 12-15, 2016 at the Bacolod Pavillon Hotel in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. Director Orolfo in his address during the opening ceremony was hopeful that BCWERC researchers would closely coordinate with DENR NIR such as the provision of technical assistance in the crafting of RDE plans, programs, and other important and priority projects dealing with the region’s biodiversity crisis. Further, he proudly informed the group that NIR will be hosting the Regional Protected Area Management Summit this month-end whose theme will focus on ecotourism and climate change resiliency. RD Orolfo is expecting that a BCWERC representative will be able to attend and would present a research paper, particularly an RDE study on “Carrying Capacity of Protected Areas”. He also mentioned that he was totally firm on his plan to make NIR as a “green city”, the greenest region in the Philippines. RD Orolfo likewise is positive that BCWERC will be helpful and work collaboratively with NIR to fully support DENR Secretary Lopez’s advocacy on the need to protect the country's rich biodiversity.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lustica challenged BCWERC researchers to fulfill the goals and needs based on the BCWERC’s areas of excellence, which is biodiversity, coastal, wetlands, and ecotourism. She assured the NIR Regional Director that expertise of some BCWERC technical staff will be made available through technical assistance in the conduct of RDE projects.

The activity titled “BCWERC Mid-Year Assessment, Re-Echo on the Trainings Attended and Planning Workshop”, was participated in by a total of thirty (30) BCWERC technical and administrative staff. It highlighted the presentation of RDE reports, which focused on the 1st and 2nd quarter updates, issues, and concerns. Ann F. Jumawan, BCWERC