Lounging in the vast 4,653.7-hectare land area is the reservation site of Central Philippines State University located at Brgy. Camingawan, Kabankalan City. With its dense forest reserve, caves, lagoons, and waterfalls, the institution is truly gifted with a diverse species of flora and fauna.
Hence, pursuing efforts to protect its natural biodiversity and preserving it to posterity have become the recent roadmap of the University for eco-conservation.
Fast-tracking its realization, a ceremonial launching of the CPSU “Center of Agriculture and Biodiversity” was successfully held last February 8, 2023 in front of the Old Library Building. The Activity was spearheaded by the Research and Development Office, Extension and Community Services Offices (ECSO), College of Agriculture and Forestry (CAF), and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).
Complementing this action are its active collaborators and partner agencies, the Province of Negros Occidental, Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO), Talarak Foundation, GIZ, Philippine Army, LGU of Kabankalan City, DENR CENRO-Kabankalan, and the LGU of Kabankalan Tourism Office.
The two (2) identified Local Conservation Areas (LCAs) are the Lagoon as Area 1 being the firefly sanctuary and biodiversity site, while Area 2 is located at the back of the mini hostel and dam. The initiative likewise gave spotlight to the Mt. Ballo “Putting Bato” Mystical Rock as the highest point of CPSU and is a potential LCA and Ecotourism site. The activity also aimed to feature the Sanduloy, which is CPSU’s own version of rice and root crops potpourri.
Dr. Aladino Moraca, CPSU president, stated that the role of preserving and managing natural resources is a vital feat that requires the collective efforts and firm support of LGUs and other agencies sensitive to the needs of the people, especially in terms of biodiversity and culture preservation.
“Embarking on this collective effort for biodiversity preservation in the local conservation areas (LCAs) with the Province and the City including the community ensures that this endeavor will be sustained up to the next five to ten years. Buligan naton palangga ang dunang manggad,” were the words he quoted in emphasizing the purpose of this undertaking.
Also giving the background of the Biodiversity Conservation Center (BCC) Plan were For. Dominic Billen, the University director for Environmental Management Services and Dr. Angelie Rose Lumba, the director for Research and Development Center.
Maria Elena San Jose, the Tech Support Services division PEMO head, likewise elucidated on the environment conservation initiatives of the Province. Partner agencies further expressed their words of commitment. These were Engr. Randy Siason, Kabankalan City Administrator and Tourism designate who also spoke on behalf of Hon. City Mayor Benjie Miranda, Sir Aldwin Legaspi, the PEM officer executive assistant who spoke on behalf of Atty. Julie Ann Bedrio of PEMO, Sir Ricky Muscosa, the OIC-City Agriculture Office of Kabankalan, Bishop Jessie Peñoso, Edna Villaruel, OIC-PARPO I, Rizalina Yuging, OIC- CARPO and Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte of the 94th IB Philippine Army.
The afternoon session continued with the lecture and awareness campaign on the nature and importance fireflies and the mystical rock conservation management as indicated in the rapid faunal assessment facilitated by PEMO in CPSU. Speakers were Sir Pierre Francis San Jose, Sir Jose Marie Abalajon, PEMO resident forester, and Sir Pierre Gabriel San Jose, CAS faculty. Trivia questions for students followed right after their talk.
Present during the launching were the CPSU-VP for academic affairs, Dr. Fernando Abello, Campus administrators, CAF dean Dr. Hanzel Pedrosa, CAS OIC-dean Dr. Michael Bacolod, faculty and students, TSSD staff, and PMD-Coastal/Upland Section Head Luisa Tutor.
By: J.A. Emoy-The Cenphilian