Paringao, Bauang, La Union- “I commend the leadership of RD Rey Juan in proactively staging this activity and not waited to be lined up as the 7th battlefront besetting DENR today.” This is the statement of Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Marcial C. Amaro Jr. during the first ever Coast Watch Summit amidst the environmental issues in the world-famous island of Boracay and other tourist destinations in the Visayas Region.

In his message, representing Sec. Roy A. Cimatu, ASec. Amaro was indeed very honored to join this timely and important event noting that the convergence is designed to discuss issues and concerns affecting the costal areas of the region highlighting on the efforts towards development, conservation and protection of these unique resources. Asec Amaro likewise made an emphasis on the importance of convening all stakeholders that will generate common understanding of the different and relevant laws and policies and programs in the management of our coast.


There are now 6 battlefronts faced by the department. First was in Boracay (Region 6) now the islands of El Nido, Coron and Puerto Galera (MIMAROPA), Panglao Island (Region 7) and Siargao (7) are being assessed. With these glaring concerns besetting the agency, it is necessary that the other regions should step up in ensuring that laws are strictly enforced so as not to follow suit in the spate of these combat area.

The Coast Watch Summit is not aimed to build a gap between the DENR and the Local Government Units in the region, instead it will educate the stakeholders on their compliance to the existing environmental laws. Though this will definitely crackdown on the established structures illegally built along the easements and dangerzones, this is also the beginning of a journey for a collective endeavor of all stake holders so future generations will still be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of our environment.

ASec. Amaro also reminded all participants of this undertaking that it is essential to take good care of the coast, as this is the habitat of the marine resources, produces food, regulates climate and serves as natural barriers from storm surges.

Enthusiastically, he cited that Region 1 is way ahead in its reputation as one of the summer destinations visited by local and foreign tourists alike. He likewise named the jewels of the region like the white sand of Pagudpud, Hundred Islands National Park, San Juan, La Union being the surfing capital of the north and the beautiful beaches of Bauang, La Union.

It can be recalled that Sec. Roy A. Cimatu visited Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte 2 weeks ago where he directed the DENR Region 1 to work closely with the Local Government Unit of Pagudpud headed by Mayor Marlon Sales to institute measures to enhance if not maintain the pristine beauty of the beaches especially the quality of water.

In closing, the Assistant Secretary clamored to put a stop on the destructive activities and complex threats like pollution from land-based activities, illegal fishing, indiscriminate reclamation of foreshore areas and cutting of mangrove trees and other vegetation.

Pangasinan 2nd District Representative Leopoldo N. Bataoil, graced the event as well and he conveyed his support to this undertaking expressing that he will definitely inform his fellow legislators of Region 1 about the conducted coast watch summit for them to be able to assist in strengthening this cause for the coast.

Meanwhile, Regional Director Reynulfo A. Juan encouraged everyone to be involved in finding for the antidote to the current situation saying, “Let us not be part of the problem, instead be part of the solution.”


On the part of the Provincial Government of La Union, Senior Board Member Francisco “Kit” C. Ortega, Jr. made a clear manifestation on what needs to be done in terms of taking care of the environment by saying, “First is Education. Let us educate the children. Our efforts are meaningless if we do not inform them of the importance of the environment. Second is dissemination, let us go out, engage the stakeholders and explain for them to understand the biodiversity of our region.”


Undoubtedly, tourism generates employment to the local community and revenues for the local government, eventually promote economic activities and progress.

When it is true that the environment can do without us, but we cannot do without the resources that it provides let us not forget that there are laws that needs stringent implementation.

And binding the enthusiasm of the participants in the endless pursuit of a sustainable environment is affixing their signatures on the Commitment Wall as they pledged to become persistent partners in this noble endeavor.

This engagement with the various stakeholders to save, protect and conserve the coasts of Ilocos Region is considered the first nationwide and it is indeed a living proof that the protection of our natural resources is possible with a government that has vision, strong political will and a community that values nature and environment. Up in their arms towards a sustainably managed coastal environment, the stakeholders and other partner agencies like the Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, PNP-Province of Pangasinan, NAMRIA, Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), Cong. Leopoldo N. Bataoil of the 2nd District of Pangasinan, LGUs of San Fernando City, Bauang, San Juan of La Union, Alaminos City, Bolinao, and San Fabian of Pangasinan and Pagudpud of Ilocos Norte were present to show their support to the DENR’s cause. ###