By Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA Bohol
Because community participation is the key in an extensive program to protect the environment from abuse, the government launches Kaligtasan at Kalikasan or “Kaligkasan” last June 28 at the Chocolate Hills Complex in Buenos Aires, Carmen town.
A project spearheaded by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and aimed at ensuring security and environmental protection in tourist destinations of the country, Kaligkasan also uses the inspiration of the Manila Bay and Boracay clean-ups, which stresses the important roles of government inter-agency cooperation and coordination.
Kaligkasan also aims to forge a stronger relationship between the police and the community to support the government’s agenda in peace and order, security, and the conservation and protection of the environment and natural resources by tapping the community as volunteers in environmental law enforcement and conservation, explains Camp Dagohoy Police Community Affairs and Development (PCAD) chief Police Lieutenant Colonel Conrado Manatad.
The launching also helped usher the Police Community Relations Month in the Philippines which is celebrated every July.
At the Bohol launching were key PNP officers, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led by PENRO Charlie Fabre, the Department of Tourism (DOT), and the local governments highlighted by volunteers in environmental law enforcement and conservation.
The program also runs in support of the police transformaton program called PNP Peace and Order Agenda for Transformation and Upholding of the Rule of Law or PATROL PLAN 2030, which is a strategy that focuses in the sustaining efforts to usher in the transformation of the police organization in general, PLtCol. Manatad added.
For the DENR, the volunteer program is a welcome move as it puts in place key force multipliers in environmental law enforcement and strategically puts the DENR through the local volunteer, in the communities which are now empowered to guard and police their specific areas of responsibility.
For the DOT, Kaligkasan assures that the environment protection and conservation as well as tourist security in tourism designated areas, all to further make tourism relevant food source to communities.
In Bohol, the PNP under Police Provincial Director Colonel Julius Cesar V. Gornez, has organized a group of volunteers from the towns, and most especially from those with tourism areas that are basically environment-based.
PNP Headquarters’ Deputy Director for Administration Police Colonel Remegio Sedanto, said Kaligkasan assures the sustainability of tourism areas and the security of tourists visiting these areas.
Also at the launching were Police Lt Col. Jeffrey Caballes, Manatad, Carmen Mayor Ricardo Francisco Toribio, DENR Penro Fabre, PCR PNCOs and Kaligkasan volunteers from the towns.
Barangay peace-keeping and Safety Officers, barangay health workers, barangay officials, and police environment desk officers, comprise the Bohol Kaligkasan volunteers.
As follow through activities after the formal launching, the DENR and other agencies would be training the volunteers on environment laws, tourism regulations, local government environmental ordinances and other mandates which the volunteers would bring down to the grassroots, according to the DENR.
At the formal launching, volunteers took their formal oaths before the PNP and the DENR and immediately led the way to a clean-up activity inside the Chocolate Hills Complex, as an introductory activity.