Cobrador Island promotes Ecotourism
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The Cobrador Island, Romblon has just recently acquired in 2016 a Hybrid Solar-Diesel System, which provides the electrical power of the whole island. But even before this, the island has been shedding light on its tourist, locals and marine life.
In this article, I’d like to share how Cobrador Island, and the whole province of Romblon as well, protect the marine ecosystem, provide livelihood to its people and provide its tourists an exquisite beach vacation. Let’s dive in:
1. Plastic Library
The Plastic Library Project is a joint project of local communities in Romblon and volunteers in order to promote book reading to schoolchildren and to promote waste management awareness. This project was proposed and led by Emm Balatbat and her partner, Matt. Aside from accepting book donations, the idea of the project is to use plastic bottles, with non-bio degradable materials inside, as the bricks in the library. The wall framing of the library is cemented to ensure that the building will still be sturdy.
In 2014, Plastic Library Project was used by the local government in their campaign in order to encourage its locals as well as tourist to practice proper waste management. The project in Cobrador was successfully completed on 26 May 2017.
2. Waste Segregation System
With the aim of reducing the number of wastes thrown into sanitary landfill, the local government of Romblon strictly implements waste management system. This is in compliance with the Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003).
In their waste segregation system, they schedule garbage collection depending on their classification. Garbage composed of recyclable materials is collected every Monday. Biodegradable materials which can be used for organic fertilizers are collected every Wednesday and Saturday. Special Waste, such as diapers, sanitary napkin, fluorescent lights, etc., are collected every Friday.
3. ‘No Plastic’ Community
Cobrador Island complies with the Municipal Ordinance No. 18-2012 and Provincial Ordinance No. 03-s.2011 strictly mandated by the local government of Romblon. The Municipal Ordinance No. 18-2012 pertains to the limitation of use of plastic bags as packaging material. Provincial Ordinance No. 03-s. 2011 is a mandate that bans the use of plastic bags on dry goods as well as the use of Styrofoam or styrophor.
The locals and business establishments are encouraged to use eco bags, biodegradable Styrofoam and other reusable materials they can use as an alternative to plastic bags and styrofoam.
4. Lots of sacks for trash
Cobrador Island, through the barangay officials, educates the locals and business establishments of proper waste management. If they failed to comply with the ordinance, they may be required to pay fine. They make sure the garbages are segregated according to their classification. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, they classify them into three types, special wastes, biodegradable materials and recyclable materials. As for recyclable materials, they bring them to their Barangay’s Materials Recovery Facility. This is where they separate the garbage made of paper, glasses, plastics and organic.
They use rice sacks as trash bags. For easier segregation and collection, you might see a lot of those per one establishment.
5. Marine Exploration/ Science and research
Cobrador has many interesting and colorful diving sites. Takot Reef Sanctuary is one of the most visited fish sanctuaries in Cobrador. There you can find different marine species and coral formation.
Efforts are made by the local sector and private sectors like and KAPAMILYA, Inc., Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Agham at Teknolohiya, Inc. (SIKAT) in order to understand and protect the marine ecosystem in Romblon including in Brgy. Cobrador. Exploitation of marine species in designated fishing sanctuaries in Romblon is strictly prohibited. Violation of this mandate will result in an imposition of fine or imprisonment.
6. Women organization doing small businesses
Women of Romblon, including, of course, of Cobrador, are actively involved in making handicrafts, finishing marble products, processing meat, fish, fruits and other Romblon products. These allow the women to earn additional income for their families.
To ensure quality and success of their small businesses, the local government and Department of Labor and Employment DOLE) hold seminars and training for the rural women. One of the associations that the DOLE directly supports is the Progressive Women’s League of Romblon (PWLR). This association supports the rural women in Romblon in upholding their rights, strengthening their family ties as well as generating income.
7. Farming is the main industry
Aside from seafood, the Cobrador Island, and the whole Province of Romblon, can provide you a variety of agricultural produce which includes coconut, rice, corn, bananas, kamote (root crop), mongo, peanut, and other fruits and vegetables.
8. Hawkbill Sea Turtles
If you get lucky while diving in the blue waters of Cobrador, you can come across a Hawkbill Sea Turtle. Their designated nesting site confirmed by the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau-Pawikan Conservation Project (PAWB-PCP) is located at Sitio Agbaliga in Agpanabat, Romblon.
Hawkbill Sea Turtles are among the most critically endangered turtles. Thus, exploitation of this Sea Turtle is highly prohibited.
9. Pawikan Conservation
Aside from Hawkbill Sea Turtles, you can also find in this island the Olive Ridley Sea turtle and Green Sea Turtles which are among the five endangered turtles that can be found in the Philippines. In order to protect these endangered turtles, the Brgy. Cobrador cooperates with other communities in Romblon and with the government.
In case the fishermen accidentally catch the turtles in a net, they will immediately turn over the marine animal in the office of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Odiongan, Romblon.