Undersecretary for Field Operations Demetrio L. Ignacio Jr.
visits Apo Reef Natural Park
On February 18 and 19, 2015, Usec. Demetrio L. Ignacio Jr. together with Regional Director Oscar C. Dominguez, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Vicente B. Tuddao, Jr., Director III Ma. Lourdes G. Ferrer, and OIC-Chief of Enforcement Division Lino M. Dimapilis, visited the field office in Occidental Mindoro.
PENRO Conrado Espejo, Jr. and OIC-CENRO Caesar E. Quebec welcomed the party at the port of Abra de Ilog. Subsequently, the employees of the PENR Office showed their warm welcome to the visitors upon their arrival. Usec. Ignacio, together with other officials, toured around the buildings and were invited for a short program. Chief, MSD Abe Francisco initiated the formal opening of the program and introduced both the visitors and the employees. PENRO Conrado Espejo, Jr. promoted the different protected areas that can be found in the province of Occidental Mindoro, namely: the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) and Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park (MIBNP) and Mt. Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary (MCWS). This was articulated through an AVP showcasing the beauty of ARNP, as well as the evident increase of tamaraw population in MIBNP last 2014 brought by the tamaraw conservation programs.
Usec. Ignacio expressed his happiness to come to Occidental Mindoro. However, he stressed that his visit to Apo Reef is only secondary to his desire to meet the people working in this field office. He told the employees that there are two challenges they are facing today. First, the National Greening Program (NGP) which has been one of President Aquino’s priority programs, but before the end of this term, the DENR should have accomplished the program by the end of this year. Second, the implementation of the Rationalization Plan that resulted to the abolition/ deactivation of CENROs which are co-located with the PENR Office and fate of the affected employees. He assured them not to be bothered about the changes in the organizational structure because a lot of work has to be done and the services of the employees are definitely needed. An open forum was ensued, so he encouraged everyone to ask questions.
Discussions on various issues on management were done, emphasizing the recognition of the efforts done by the employees. Regional Director Oscar C. Dominguez imparted the importance of continuing education and the work excellence of the field office.
They reached Apo Reef Natural Park the next day and proceeded in touring the island. They visited the pavilion, the lagoon in the middle of the island and the lighthouse. PASU Fe Raguindin discussed the operations and facilities of the island, statistical reports on the income generated by ecotourism activities as well as the uniqueness of its biodiversity. Usec. Ignacio suggested that more facilities can improve the income generation of the island and sustainability mechanisms should be formulated for the coming years. The next day, the group spent most of their time out in the sea; swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving – a rare opportunity to see the underwater beauty of Apo Reef.
The visit of the officials to the field office of Occidental Mindoro and Apo Reef Natural Park has affirmed the support to our employees and has been a learning venue on how to improve our programs and policies in protecting and conserving our natural resources and how to sustain the good practices of our people. (Von Erika S. Causapin)