Misamis University Spearheads the 2020 Management Effectiveness and Capacity Assessment (MECA) of the Two Protected Areas in Misamis Occidental
Misamis University with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental conducted the 2020 Management Effectiveness and Capacity Assessments (MECA) of the two protected areas in the province, namely:Mt.Malindang Range Natural Park (MMRNP) and Baliangao Protected Landscape and Seascapes (BPLS).
Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park is a legislated Protected Area (PA) through RA 9304 and RA 6266. MMRNP is a natural resource encompassing the provinces of Misamis Occidental and the neighboring provinces of Zamboanga Del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur. The PA is located in the heart of Misamis Occidental, Region 10, Mindanao, Philippines. It is the central feature of the province and its environmental services extend to the eastern part of Zamboanga Peninsula, with geographic coordinates of 08° 45'55" North and 123° 31'45" It has a total area of 53,262 hectares with two major zones: Strict Protection Zone and Multiple Use Zone. In 2011, it was considered as one of the leading ASEAN Heritage Parks in the Philippines for its extraordinary value as a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) (Ambal et al. 2012, Ong et al. 1992), Important Bird Area (IBA) (http://www.birdlife.org), Conservation Priority Area, and Alliance for Zero Extinction site. Its outstanding universal value led to the UNESCO Tentative List World Heritage Site's inclusion in 2005 and a nominee as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2016.
Meanwhile, Baliangao Protected Landscape & Seascape (BPLS) was proclaimed under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Proclamation No. 418 dated November 22, 2000, and in 2018, it was formally gazetted through RA 11038, also known as the Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018. BPLS was among the 6 PAs in Region 10 and 94 PAs in the Philippines. The protected area has 315.49 hectares, with a landscape of 121.22 hectares, and 194.27 hectares that comprise the marine ecosystem. The PA lies between the geographic coordinates of 08° 38'19.89" North and 123° 37'8.56" East. It is bounded on the North by Mindanao Sea, west by Murcielagus Bay, and south by Municipalities of Sapang Dalaga and Calamba. On the east by Municipality of Plaridel, Misamis Occidental.
The Management Effectiveness Tracking Tools (METT) was the assessment tool used during the conduct of the study. It is a tool designed by world experts to assess and determine the protected areas management effectiveness worldwide. The Philippines through BMB Technical Bulletin No 2018-05 entitled "Adopting Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool for assessing and monitoring the effectiveness of protected areas adopted the METT. All PAs under the NIPAS Act of 1992, E-NIPAS Act of 2018, Aichi Target 11 of Convention on Biological Diversity and Target 12, Philippine Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan 2028, are to use this tool.
The team that conducted the MECA study was led by MUCEP Director, EnP. Grace V. Villanueva, assisted by For. Jersam C. Calago and For. Bobby B. Alaman, both staff of MUCEP. METT survey questionnaire was answered during meetings by Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) members and DENR staff. The analysis of data used excel basic functions such as SUM, SUMIFS, and COUNT formula. The total score was calculated as the sum of the total responses. The maximum score of 30 questions and bonus points questions were multiplied by the number of total respondents. The product is equivalent to the total maximum score. The criterion that has the highest score most likely describes the situations in the protected area. There were 18 PAMB members of BPLS and 23 PAMB members from MMRNP who were the respondents of the study. The results were validated by the PAMB members of both PAs on September 16, 2020 for BPLS and September 30, 2020 for MMRNP.
There were six management categories assessed and monitored in METT; these included the Context, Planning, Inputs, Process, Output, and Outcome. The two Protected Areas' overall score rating disclosed that Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park received a score of 95 while BPLS received a 93 score. Under BMB Technical Bulletin No 18-05, overall ratings of the two Protected Areas have Excellent Rating. However, there are categories among the six elements that need to be addressed, with specific recommendations that must be undertaken to improve further the management of the PAs. Both PAs, overall scores increased from previous METT, while it was in the Planning category for both PAs that needs to be focused on.