Tungawan mayor adopts “bread, not gun” solution to security problem

DENR cited Tungawan for seriously implementing its 10-year CRM program, with technical assistance from the Philippine Environmental Governance (EcoGov) Project.

Level 2 certification is given to an LGU with a multi-year CRM Plan, a biophysical assessment, active coastal law enforcement, annual CRM programming and budgeting, zoning, local legislation, registry/permit/licensing, and protected zones; and has started earning revenues from the plan.

No other LGU has done it in Mindanao, quite a feat for a low-key, fourth class municipality in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The certification was received by the mayor and Councilor Arsenio Climaco, the former mayor who championed the town’s CRM program, from DENR Region Technical Director Eduardo Bisguera Jr.

Since the adoption of its CRM Plan in 2004, Tungawan has been able to implement several major projects including the enforcement of the “no take” zone in the town’s marine protected area (MPA) for nearly three years now, biophysical monitoring of the MPA, registration of fisherfolk, issuance of fishing permits and licenses, and active enforcement of fishery laws.

To date, more than 40 apprehensions of illegal fishers have been made and close to P300,000 in fines have been collected.

To ensure public support and to sustain the gains, the local government continues to run a regular information, education and education (IEC) campaign at the barangay level.

In what he calls a major departure from the traditional solutions in solving peace and order problem, the mayor said his administration “will intensify the efforts of creating employment and livelihood opportunities” that will benefit the town’s poorest population.

“We will try to address income disparity among our people as a strategy to develop our municipality,” he said, adding the local government has earmarked funds for its cassava production, and support to rubber and seaweeds farmers.

“The next three years will be the time to recreate the image of the town form conflict-torn area into a haven of peace and development,” Climaco stressed.

The town, in the past, was usually associated with kidnappings, extortion, and haven for Moro rebels.

When Italian missionary Giancarlo Bossi was kidnapped in Payao town last June 10, initial reports indicated that he was brought to Tungawan. However, the reports turned out to be inaccurate. (Antonio M. Manaytay/MindaNews contributor)