DENR, Polomolok sign MOA for better ecotourism in Mt. Matutum

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 26 July) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Region 12 is pushing for the development of more ecotourism resources in the vicinity of Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato province.

Nilo Tamoria, DENR-12 regional director, said Thursday they have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the municipal government of Polomolok to facilitate the effective implementation of ecotourism programs and projects in the area.

He said the agreement was made to “ensure the conservation, protection, proper development and delivery of environment and natural resources services to grass root communities” in Polomolok.

The MOA was signed Monday by Tamoria and Polomolok Mayor Honey Lumayag-Matti.

Under the agreement, Tamoria said the agency and the local government will jointly “implement, monitor, assess and co-finance ecotourism programs and projects.”

He said it will complement with the ongoing strengthening of the region’s initiatives in terms of the implementation of ecotourism policies and enforcement of environmental compliance.

The official said DENR-12 will mainly provide support and technical assistance to the municipal government of Polomolok and other concerned stakeholders in line with conduct of ecotourism-related activities, specifically on protection and conservation.

He said the local government is tasked to formulate policies in support of ecotourism programs.

It will also provide additional livelihood projects to target communities as a measure to address the priority ecotourism needs of the area, he said.

“These are projects that would not only assist the financial needs of the community but will also address the issues and threats in the area by redirecting environmental pressures,” he said in a statement.

Tamoria said Polomolok has huge potentials of becoming a top ecotourism destination due to various natural attractions such as waterfalls, rivers and forests situated within the Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape.

Polomolok is nestled at the base of Mt. Matutum, a cone-shaped, active volcano towering 2,286 meters.

The agreement was an offshoot of a series of engagements between DENR-12 and Polomolok in the last two years.

The agency helped establish the town’s Ecotourism Information and Visitor Center through a grant of P1.2 million.

DENR-12 also provided the facility with P200,000 worth of furniture and office equipment. (MindaNews)