On April 13, 2016, faculty and staff from the Center for Strategic Policy and Governance and PSU-Cuyo launched the project entitled “Empowering Women and Men for Biodiversity Conservation in Magsaysay” in Magsaysay, Palawan.
The two-year project was funded by the United Nations Development Programme through its Small Grants Project 5 program. Dr. Rosario del Rosario spearheads the project with Dr. Marjorie Española as co-project leader while Engr. Ma. Rosario Aynon Gonzales, CSPG Director, and Dr. Michael Pido, Vice President for Research and Extension, serve as Management and Technical Advisers, respectively.
The project seeks to safeguard the conservation of biodiversity in Magsaysay, Palawan and at the same time, allowing the residents/communities to sustainably benefit from their natural resources by ensuring that conservation policies and institutional mechanisms are in place and operational.
Local government officials from Magsaysay such as Mayor Rommel dela Torre, Vice Mayor Manuel Abrea, municipal councilors, and barangay captains were also present during the project launch. At the said event, the research team was introduced and the community stakeholders were briefed about the project.
Prof. Hermenegildo dela Peña, UIPO Director and project consultant for ecosystem and biodiversity, facilitated the Orientation Workshop on Biodiversity Conservation held on the same day as the launch. The workshop was held to determine the present biodiversity of the five study areas in Magsaysay namely, Barangays Lucbuan, Los Angeles, Danawan, Igabas, and Rizal. Community stakeholders such as barangay officials and residents of the barangays identified the biodiversity present in their respective barangays. Dr. Rosario del Rosario, Dr. Marjorie Española, Dr. Merlina Rago, Ms. Agnes Factor and Mr. Arlan Belen assisted the participants during the workshop.
The research team comprised of faculty and staff from PSU Main and Cuyo campus conducted a series of household interviews from April 11 to 21, 2016 as part of the data gathering process for the project. A total of 488 households involved in cashew farming and processing, lato farming, and salt making, were interviewed from Barangays Lucbuan, Los Angeles, Danawan, Igabas, and Rizal.
Focus Group Discussion
On April 16, 2016, focus group discussions (FGDs) on biodiversity assessment, lato farming, and salt making were also held at the PSU Cuyo Extension Office Group. Prof. dela Peña, Ms. Factor, and Dr. Rago facilitated the said FGDs with barangay officials and community members from the five barangays as participants.
As part of the reconnaissance survey, the team visited different sites in Magsaysay and Cuyo, Palawan to profile the community and its available natural resources. Among the areas visited were the seaweed farms and the salt making area in Barangay Rizal, Little Baguio in Barangay Igabas, Mt. Aguado in Cuyo, and Mt. Caimamis located within the boundaries of Barangay Emilod and Barangay Lucbuan.