The Environmental Management Bureau–Region I (EMB–I), represented by Engr. Ryanne Narvaez, Chief of the Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement Division, and Information Officer II Divine Joy Picar attended the first face–to–face regular meeting of the Regional Ecotourism Committee (REC–I) for calendar year 2022 on June 3, 2022 at DENR Conference Hall, DENR Building, Government Center, Sevilla, City of San Fernando, La Union. The said meeting was presided over by Department of Tourism (DOT)–I Regional Director and REC–I Chairperson Joseph Francisco Ortega and it was also attended by DENR-I Regional Executive Director, Atty. Crizaldy M. Barcelo.

Highlights of the meeting are the presentation of Tourism Product and Circuit Development Activities of DOT–I, updates on Ecotourism Areas in Region I (Protected Areas) and Year of the Protected Areas 2022.

The Year of the Protected Areas was launched through a joint declaration by the DENR, DOT, and Department of Interior and Local Government on May 23, 2022. The proposed presidential proclamation to support the campaign is currently with the Office of the President which declares 2022 as National Year of the Protected Area and June as month of the Protected Areas (PAs). This aims to promote PAs under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) and coordinate with other agencies at the national level and local levels to ensure conservation and sustainable management for national parks nationwide. This year’s theme anchors on “Protected Areas for a Protected Future.”

Pursuant to Executive Order No. 111, s. 1999 or the “Establishing the Guidelines for Ecotourism Development in the Philippines,” the REC shall have the following functions: review, evaluate, approve and monitor ecotourism projects in their region; implement policies, guidelines, programs, projects and activities formulated by the Council; identify network of ecotourism sites in the region; recommend plans and programs for ecotourism; and perform such other activities as may be prescribed by the council.