CITY OF BALANGA, BATAAN – The rapid depletion of natural resources and degradation of environmental services have been a growing concern around the globe for the past few decades. One of the factors driving its speed is the undervalued market price relative to the total economic value of benefits derived from its use. Since the users pay less, they tend to overuse the resource, leading to rapid depletion and degradation. Creating policies required to curb this behavior requires assessing the total economic benefits derived from the use of bio-resources, through economic valuation.
In a special meeting of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) held on May 16, 2018 at the Pinpin Library of Plaza Hotel, Balanga City, Bataan, the Interdisciplinary Studies Center on Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management (IDSC-INREM) team introduced to the Bataan National Park (BNP) stakeholders the valuation project entitled, “Valuing Bio-resources and Recreational Ecosystem Services: The Case of Bataan National Park”.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region III Field Office, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) of Bagac and DInalupihan, Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), PCAARRD (Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), and PAMB Members. Members of the PAMB include stakeholders representing the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU), Indigenous People (IPs), People’s Organization (POs), and Local Government Units (LGUs) from the municipalities covered by the Bataan National Park.
The project leader, Dr. Juan M. Pulhin provided an overview of the project. The project aims to measure the value of economic benefits derived from selected bio-resources and recreational ecosystem services through the use of market-based methods and Travel Cost Method, respectively. The project also seeks to assess, through Choice Modelling, the benefit people derive from the passive use of the national park. The results of the project will be used in generating policy options for payment for ecoystems services and access and benefit sharing from biodiversity conservation and towards the sustainable management of BNP and other protected areas of similar situation.
Engr. Alexander Baluyot, the Provincial Planning and Development Officer (PPDO) and also a PAMB Member, moved that the PAMB make a resolution to endorse the project on the condition that the project team provides regular updates to the PAMB and furnishes PAMB copies of its output.
A series of data gathering activities commenced after the passage of the resolution. Focus Group Discussions on the identification of key bio-resources, and attributes of BNP were held. The project team proceeded with the pre-test of the travel cost method questionnaire. The pre-test was done in two of BNP’s tourist attractions in Bagac, namely: Looc Beach and Ambon-ambon falls. The team was guided by the focal person from PENRO, Mr. Jet Suguitan and PENRO Staff, Mr. Zosimo San Jose.
The valuation project, funded by PCAARRD, began on January 2018 and will run until December 2019. Being implemented under the UPLB-interdisciplinary Studies Center for Integrated Natural Resources Management (UPLB-IDSC-INREM), the UPLB team is composed of Dr. Juan M. Pulhin (Project Leader), Dr. Canesio D. Predo (Co-Project Leader), Dr. Asa Jose U. Sajise (Team member), Ms. Catherine C. De Luna (Team Member), Ms. Arielle Fajardo (Team Member), Mr. Dan Leo Z. Diona II (Team Member), and Ms. Pamela C. Nilo (Team Member).
Article written by Arielle Fajardo. Photos courtesy of Mr. Jet Suguitan (Program Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Office of the Protected Area Superintendent, Bataan National Park).