A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) to validate the results of the project, Interphasing of Vulnerability Assessment and Carrying Capacity Determination of Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape (RSPL) was recently conducted by the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) last November 13, 2017 at Magsaysay Park, Bilar, Bohol.

Participants comprised of 22 technical staff and representatives from BCWERC; the Provincial Environment and Natural Resource Office (PENRO) and Community Environment and Natural Resource Office (CENRO) in Tagbilaran City, Bohol; the RSPL-Assistant Protected Area Superintendent (APASu) Office; Municipal Tourism Office; the Barangay Local Government Unit (LGU); the Bilar Water and Sanitation Multi-purpose Cooperative; and Riverside Farmer’s Association, in Bilar Bohol.

Along with the presentation of validated results, the FGD also sought to gather important information from stakeholders in addition to the existing data gathered by the research proponents. Stakeholders involved were those living within and adjacent to the ecotourism areas in RSPL.

For. Allan P. Hilot, APASu of RSPL formally welcomed participants during the event and extended his full support to the vision of BCWERC. In the same way, Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, BCWERC Center Head also encouraged everyone to cultivate an open mind and acknowledge suggestions or recommendations in order to gather and digest more information relevant to the project. Likewise, she suggested to FGD participants that as stakeholders, it would be helpful if they secure other significant information as baseline data for vulnerability assessment (VA) and carrying capacity (CarCap), especially on calamities. According to Dr. Lustica, related information could be utilized as basis for future research implementation on VA and CarCap.

Research results were presented by the project proponents, Mr. Reynaldo L. Lanuza and Ms. Chona M. Tura, Supervising Science Research Specialist and Senior Science Research Specialist of BCWERC, respectively. Actual FGD followed after the presentation of research results where comments from different stakeholders were noted and recorded. Stakeholders appreciated the efforts of BCWERC for coming up with a concrete data for the protected landscape.

Recommendations generated during the FGD were also presented to the RSPL-Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). PAMB requested BCWERC for a copy of the terminal report which will serve as a reference material for interested stakeholders.

For. Marcial B. Ugay of PENRO Bohol extended his warm appreciation to participants whose presence and cooperation contributed to the success and smooth flow of the activity. mfgpolo/cmtura/adfortich, BCWERC