REC members set foot in VVMR

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 headed by Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran and the current chair of the Regional Ecotourism Committee (REC) conducted its meeting at the Villa Valderrama Mountain Resort (VVMR) in Valderrama, Antique on September 22, 2023.

The Forestland Use Agreement for Tourism (FLAgT) given to the VVMR is a tenurial instrument which supports its legal operations and the first FLAgT signed by DENR 6 Regional Executive Director (RED) Livino B. Duran since he took oath in June 2021.

The FLAgT presents a transformative approach to land management, emphasizing the sustainable use of forest resources while safeguarding their long-term viability.

The program strives to combine economic development, recreation, and conservation in a way that allows tourists to enjoy the area’s natural beauty while also supporting the local economy. FLAgT has a term of 25 years and is renewable for the same time duration.

Furthermore, it was also decided during the REC meeting, that VVMR be included among the list of the possible area to be added in the Western Visayas Ecotourism Loop which includes the six provinces, namely, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental.

“As a former reforestation project by the Department, the Villa Valderrama Mountain Resort serves as an example for sustainable land-use while promoting conservation efforts,” RED Duran said.

“Our region is blessed to have a huge number of ecotourism areas that can contribute to the economic, and tourism growth as well as in promoting responsible use of natural resources. This is one of the ways to introduce to the public the natural world and clean surroundings,” Duran added.

In the previous meeting, the committee agreed to include Bucari Pine Forest and Campsite in Leon, Iloilo and the Sibalom Natural Park in Sibalom, Antique to the WV Ecotourism Loop.

This time the Gawahon Ecopark in Northern Negros Natural Park in the province of Negros Occidental has been approved to be part of Ecotourism Loop along with the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve in the province of Guimaras, Bulabog Putian National Park in the province of Iloilo, Bakhawan Ecopark in the province of Aklan, and Mararison Island in the province of Antique, and many others.

Meanwhile, the Capiz Ecology Park and Cultural Village is under validation by the REC. (DENR-6)