The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 now has 15 Protected Areas, including six that were legislated, with the recent proclamation of Sicogon Island Wildlife Sanctuary (SIWS) which was added in the category of wildlife sanctuary under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).
Republic Act (RA) 11933 or the Sicogon Island Wildlife Sanctuary Act, described the area as located in the northern part of Iloilo within the municipality of Carles and with a total land area of 283 hectares, composed of two parcels (Parcel 1 with 251 has. and Parcel 2 with 32 has.) spanning Brgys. Buaya, San Fernando and Alipata.
“Having established its popularity since the early 70s, many tourists both local and international have been visiting Sicogon Island and this calls for the need to protect and properly manage the flora and fauna population which are native and distinct in the island,” DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran said.
“The enactment of RA 11933 was sponsored by Senator Cynthia A. Villar and one of the proponents of House Bill 9328 is our 5th district Rep. Raul C. Tupas. With this, the DENR 6 and other stakeholders, are now given assurance of the conservation, protection, management and rehabilitation of the Sicogon Island Wildlife Sanctuary (SIWS),” Duran added.
Based on the Protected Area Suitability Assessments (PASA) conducted by DENR 6’s Conservation and Development Division (CDD), there are two additional areas in the region aside from Sicogon Island which possess the characteristics worthy of becoming legislated Protected Area soon.
Once legislated, the concerned Protected Area is given the necessary funding for their sustainable protection. The DENR CDD 6 team is still working on it for those potential areas for their legislation as protected area.
Sicogon Island has an estimated area if 1,160 hectares, it has 12 freshwater springs which are the source of drinking water and day to day use of the estimated 5,238 residents. (DENR-6)