The top performing local Marine Protected Areas and Bantay Dagat Teams coming from the different municipalities of the province were recognized in this year’s STAR MPA Awards or Sustaining Marine Protected Areas through Awards and Recognition given by the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro. Topping the STAR MPA Awards for best managed MPA is Maasin Marine Protected Area in Brgy. Maasin, Bulalacao while the Bantay Dagat Association of Baco was declared as the Best Performing Bantay Dagat Team. The awarding ceremonies was held on November 15, 2021 at the Bulwagang Panlalawigan, Provincial Capitol Complex, Calapan City as part of the series of activities in celebration of the 71st Founding Anniversary of the Province of Oriental Mindoro.
The top 10 best managed MPAs were selected from the 22 MPAs that were shortlisted after conducting a thorough evaluation and validation. Ranking from 1st to 10th place as the best managed MPAs are the Maasin Marine Protected Area; Punta Ilag Fish Sanctuary, Brgy. Punta Ilag, San Teodoro; Sta. Theresa Fish Sanctuary, Brgy. Sta. Theresa, Gloria; Banilad-Simborio Fish Sanctuary, Brgy. Banilad, Pinamalayan; Pili Fish Sanctuary, Brgy. Pili, Pinanamalayan; Baco Marine Protected Area, Brgys. San Andres and Pulang Tubig, Baco; St. Peter the Rock Fish Sanctuary, Brgy. Tagumpay, Pola; Song of the Sea Fish Sanctuary, Brgy. Misong, Pola; Stella Mariz Fish Sanctuary, Brgy. Calima, Pola; and Puerto Galera Mangrove and Ecotourism Area, Brgys. Dulangan and Tabinay, Puerto Galera. While the top 5 Best Performing Bantay Dagat Team were awarded to Bantay Dagat Association of Baco – 1st Place, Samahan ng Bantay Dagat ng San Teodoro – 2nd Place, Bantay Dagat Group of Gloria- 3rd Place, Bahaghari Bantay Dagat Association of Pinamalayan – 4th Place, and the Bantay Dagat Association of Naujan – 5th Place. The respective awardee councils received cash incentives, plaques, and certificates.
Furthermore, sustainably managed MPAs which are present and previous winners of the PARA EL MAR Awards were also recognized and provided with cash incentives. This includes the St. John the Baptist Fish Sanctuary in Pola, finalist 2021 PARA EL Mar Awards; Silonay Mangrove Conservation and Eco Park in Calapan City, 2019 Best Mangrove Award; Ranzo Fish Sanctuary in Pinamalayan, 2nd Runner-up 2019 PARA EL MAR; and Agsalin Fish Sanctuary in Gloria, Champion 2017 PARA EL MAR. The PARA EL MAR Awards is a national competition honoring the best locally managed MPAs and MPA networks in the country.
The STAR MPA Awards is a biennial event organized by the Provincial Agriculturist’s Office through the Fisheries and Coastal Resource Management Division in partnership with the Malampaya Foundation, Inc. to promote effective management of marine protected areas and the protection of marine and coastal resources of the province. To date there are 40 established MPAs in the province covering a total aggregate area of 8,076 hectares. The establishment and expansion of MPAs is one of the priority programs of PAGO-FCRM.