La Union, Philippines. April 29, 2016. The city government of San Fernando recently passed City Ordinance No. 2015-03 “An Ordinance Establishing the Poro Marine Protected Area (MPA), Creating Its Management Council and Providing for Its Management”. The MPA was created to help conserve, protect and develop the marine resources of coastal communities along San Fernando Bay.
Among the members of the MPA management council is the people’s organization, the Poro Sea Lovers Association (PSLA), comprised of environment-conscious residents of Poro, most of which are fisher folks. The PSLA members are engaged in social enterprises such as food and catering services, aside from serving as MPA guardians.
PSLA was created based on a five-year, Php9.7M partnership between Chevron Philippines, Inc. (CPI), marketer of Caltex fuels and lubricants, the Institute of Social Order (ISO) and the City of San Fernando. Poro MPA is located in San Fernando Bay which is depleted of fishery resources, degraded of fish habitats, and run with inadequate fisheries policies.
“We are optimistic that with the signing of the MPA, we can somehow demonstrate that the local government and the private sector can work together to achieve sustainable environmental management. We hope that this project will be a showcase of cooperation between the local community, the local government and private enterprises such as Chevron,”, said Liza Lim, ISO’s Executive Director.
The project has been drawing interest from other stakeholders, thereby strengthening its sustainability. In addition to technical support, the city government provided an additional Php50,000 grant to include rice trading among PSLA’s social enterprise ventures. Poro Point Management Corporation, on the other hand, has adopted the project as a channel for its corporate social responsibility efforts. The project partners are also pursuing partnerships with local academic institutions and regional government service offices for environmental research, social enterprise development and skills training.
“We are pleased that the MPA ordinance is now in effect. Thanks to Chevron’s support, it will definitely increase fish catch and the income of the fisher folks in our coastal communities,” said Elsie Bejar, ISO’s Officer in Charge in La Union.
Chevron, which maintains an oil terminal in Poro Point, believes that supporting projects that address human needs, protect the environment, and help small business are important factors in the economic growth and well-being of communities.