MALAYBALAY City, PH — One hundred and three (103) staff, personnel and members of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) from 42 protected areas (PAs) in Mindanao personally learned from PA champions during a two-week training-workshop in this capital city of Mindanao’s heartland.
Representing five regions — Regions 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 — participants to the training-workshop on January 22-26 and January 29-February 2 at the Bukidnon State University (BSU or BukSU) immersed themselves in the four topics that are central to the inclusive and effective management of PAs in Mindanao.
These topics were taught and facilitated by their respective champions through Storytelling, a tool that draws from the personal experiences of the resource persons. Storytelling is recognized as an effective communication and advocacy tool as it generates genuine interest, engages participants and conveys easily understandable information on complex issues based on evidence in a readily accessible manner. Because it emanates from personal and real experiences of the resource person, it also conveys authenticity and authority.
The training modules for these topics were developed with the resource persons themselves with the help of BukSU and GIZ-COSERAM. They were specifically designed to adapt the experiences of the resource persons to the needs of the participants’ respective PAs.
Participants expressed appreciation to the approach to capacity development, saying the champions’ stories greatly inspired them to pursue some of these topics.
“This kind of approach to training is very good because it is practical and we can really see what they have done and the successes they have. We hope the resource person to teach us more and go to us to guide us,” said a staff of the Zamboanga City LGU who represented the Sta. Cruz Protected Land and Seascape.
The main resource person was Dr. Felix S. Mirasol, ARD for Management of DENR-10, who is the primemover of the Mindanao PAMB Network and himself a champion of each of the topics.
Facilitators were from the Bukidnon State University, led by Dr. Joy Mirasol, vice president for Research, Extension and International Affairs.
The four topics and their resource persons were 1) Functional PAMB by Ms. Merlita Tabamo who taught the topic using the case of the Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park; 2) Community-Based Natural Resources Protection Initiatives by Daniel F. Somera, PASu of Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park; 3) Resource Generation the Easy Way, which is mainly about accessing Integrated Protected Area Funds (IPAF) by Ms. Liza Requina, EMS, DENR-Misamis Oriental; and 4) International Recognition and Awards/Significance/Level-Up of PAs by Dr. Ruel Colong, PASu, Mt. Hamigitan Range Natural Park, a AHP/UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to Mirasol, the Mindanao PAMB Network, with the support of COSERAM, will continue to support the PAMB that is interested to pursue or deepen its skills in the topic by bringing the resource persons as “coaches” to their region or PAs. This approach to Capacity Development is hoped to be help improve effectiveness of the PA management in Mindanao.
The Mindanao PAMB Network was “built on the strong belief that the resource persons or the expertise needed for an effective Protected Area Management are within and among the PAMBs in Mindanao. Today, through this approach in training, we are starting to practice this belief,” Mirasol said.
Thankful and inspired to have learned from the champions themselves, one participant voiced the feelings of all the participants to the training-workshop. “We are really inspired by the life stories of Felix Mirasol and other resource persons. We would really try our best to start at least some of the steps they lined up for us to replicate,” said Brendy of PAMBCS in Region 9.
Note: Adonis “Bong G.” Gonzales is the COSERAM senior advisor for Indigenous People and Biodiversity as well as one of the Regional Tandem for Northern Mindanao.