DENR IVB, Divine Word College of Calapan launches BANGKLASE: Biodiversity Class in Boat!

By: Karla S. Mangundayao

 

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November 14, 2014 is an interesting day for the DENR-MIMAROPA Region as it proudly launches one of its biggest programs of the year, the BANGKLASE, in Naujan Lake National Park at Brgy. Pasi II, Socorro, Oriental Mindoro. Key officials of government are expected to attend including the Honorable Secretary of DENR, Assistant and Undersecretaries of DENR, Regional Directors of various government agencies, elected officials of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro (Members of the House of Representatives, Provincial Governors, Municipal Mayors and Vice Mayors, few SB members, and Brgy. Chairs), Directors of various NGOs, and Presidents of academe. The program’s name was coined from two Filipino words ‘bangka (boat)’ and ‘klase (class)’ which literally will serve a purpose of holding a number of visitors, tourists, and students making up a whole class that approximates to 100 heads in one huge boat pulled by two smaller boats.  The boat will travel around the lake and there will be lectures on the profile of Naujan Lake, its geophysical and biological attributes, and conservation measures, further promoting ecotourism in the lake.

The Bangklase program, the first of its kind in the Philippines, is the product of partnerships between and among the DENR-MIMAROPA Region, Divine Word College of Calapan and Naujan Lake National Park Management Board through a Memorandum of Agreement dated June 24, 2013. The program primarily aims to promote ecotourism development and public awareness campaign, a two pronged strategy in promoting the conservation of Naujan Lake: 1) an alternative mode of learning and inculcate awareness to the public about the biodiversity of Naujan Lake and its conservation and; 2) as means to promote ecotourism that will generate employment to the local communities while additional revenues to the local government units.

Naujan Lake National Park (NLNP), where the Bangklase Program will be launched, is the 5th largest lake in the Philippines covering a total area of 21,655 hectares. It is located in the Northeastern part of Mindoro Island bordering within 21 barangays and four municipalities namely Naujan, Socorro, Pola, and Victoria. NLNP is recognized as Conservation Priority Area (CPA), Important Bird Area (IBA), Key Biodiversity Area (KBA), Ramsar Site (RS 1008), and East Asian-Australasian Flyway Network Site (EAAF062). With such attributions of NLNP, there is strong need for its conservation that will start by spreading awareness to the public about the aesthetic, economic and ecological aspect of the lake of which said people are benefactor. As Baba Dioum had once said, “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”