TACLOBAN CITY-The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-8) is set to visit the Biri- LAROSA Protected Landscape and Seascape (BLPLS) in Northern Samar for the habitat and vulnerability assessment as part of the ongoing Sustainable Coral Reef Ecosystem Management Program (SCREMP). “The SCREM program is a national program of the DENR which primarily aims to protect and rehabilitate the coral reef ecosystem and increase the management effectiveness of the nationally established Marine Protected Areas (MPA),” DENR-8 coastal and marine management division chief Corazon Makabenta said in an interview.

Aside from the Biri-LAROSA (Biri, Lavesarez, Rosario and San Jose) Landscape and Seascape which has length of 83.85 kilometers, other target MPAs are Guiuan Marine Reserve Protected Landscape and Seascape in Guiuan, Eastern Samar and Cuatro Islas Protected Landscape and Seascape in Hindang and Inopacan, both located in Leyte. According to Makabenta, the coral reef vulnerability assessment started in 2013 or even before the supertyphoon Yolanda struck the region. Once the number of damaged coral reef ecosystem in the region is already determined, the next steps would be the rehabilitation and protection of the coral reef; the social mobilization and development; strengthening of the MPA identification and networking and the execution of the sustainable livelihood intervention program which is intended for the fisher folks in the community, Makabenta said.

The SCREMP is an eight year-long program implemented all over the country and was launched in Biri, Northern Samar last August 23, 2013.  This program has a fund support of P1.16 billion at P1, 310 for per hectare in 63 target marine key biodiversity areas. (ROSE ANGELIE S. CASTILLANO, LNU Intern)