Committed to promoting sustainable development of tourism destinations in the Visayas, the Coastal Resources and Ecotourism, Research, Extension Center (CRERDEC) recently linked up with the local stakeholders in Negros Occidental to capacitate and provide them with a better understanding of the concepts of carrying capacity (CarCap) and site assessments.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Negros Occidental deemed CarCap and Comprehensive Site Assessments (CSA) as appropriate tools to help assess the identified Peace and Development Community (PDC) sites in Brgy. Bagonbon, San Carlos City.

Stakeholders are eyeing to develop said sites located within the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) into resettlement areas and potential ecotourism sites.

Anchored on the vision of establishing eco-friendly PDC sites with occupants empowered and actively involved in sustainable livelihood, the PENR office in Negros Occidental organized a 3-day capacity building activity titled, “Orientation-Workshop onCarrying Capacity and Comprehensive Site Assessments” on October 5-7, 2021 at Carmel Inn, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

The workshop sponsored by the Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Carlos City is in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and also with the LGU of Cadiz City as portions of NNNP are also within the jurisdiction of Cadiz City.

Resource persons headed by CRERDEC Center Head, Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, together with Supervising Science Research Specialist Carlito R. Buante and Community Development Officer II Anselmo M. Aurestila, provided thorough presentations on the concepts of sustainable tourism and biodiversity assessment.

Dr. Lustica initially discussed the concept of ecotourism followed by CarCap concept application, data gathering activities, and cost estimates in the conduct of CarCap and biodiversity assessment, among others.

The topic on site assessment presented by Forester Aurestila focused on the biophysical characterization.

He also presented the concept and process of vulnerability/geohazard assessment, socio-economic survey and corresponding data analysis methods.

Forester Buante wrapped up the series of discussions with a detailed presentation on CarCap data management, conceptual framework, analytics, and report preparations.

OPPAP Provincial Coordinator, Jayson Encinares underscored the need to orient and capacitate the identified assessment team for them to familiarize the overall concept of CarCap study and the conduct of site assessments relative to the preparation of the Work and Financial Plan (WFP) of Negros Occidental PDC sites.

PENR Officer, Forester Edgardo Rostata of Negros Occidental also emphasized the need for the group to convene and align commitments in order to secure funding from the OPAPP.

Participants of this blended learning activity, a combination of on-site and online interaction via zoom, are technical staff from the Conservation Development Division (CDD); DENR-PENRO Negros Occidental; and DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-CENRO) in Cadiz City.

Joining them as well are staff from the OPPAP headed by their Provincial Coordinator; key stakeholders of the local peace process in the cities of Cadiz and San Carlos – the Kapatiran Para sa Progresong Panlipunan, Inc. (KAPATIRAN) and officials of both LGUs.

The government designed the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) as part of their confidence-building effort. This includes the provision of PDC sites located in San Carlos City to about 727 KAPATIRAN members.

During a series of meetings, the group decided to conduct a workshop on CarCap and CSA to identify and assess the existing resources and land uses as well as the actual area requirement for the KAPATIRAN members.

The organizers and facilitators, thus, requested CRERDEC to orient them on the process of doing the assessments.

Participants broadly aligned target activities emphasizing multi-sectoral participation that will address regional development challenges in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas. TTPEU-CRERDEC