• Posted on March 26, 2021

EMB Caraga Ambient Monitoring Section (AMS) organized a public consultation in Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte on March 16-25, 2021 to solicit issues and concerns of residents for the proposed Siargao Coastal/Marine Water Quality Management Area (SCMQMA).

The proposed designation aims to protect, preserve, and enhance the coastal waters according to its most beneficial use. The proposal is another step towards a more focused management in accordance to Republic Act 9275, otherwise known as “The Philippine Clean Water Act”, which was considered after the coastal/marine waters of the island have been classified as Class SA and SB for its protected and recreational waters, respectively.

Class SA Waters are those designated as national or local marine parks, reserves, sanctuaries, and other areas established by law, including those waters suitable for shellfish harvesting for direct human consumption. On the other hand, Class SB Waters are those suitable for commercial propagation or shellfish and intended as spawning areas for milkfish and similar species, ecotourism and recreational activities like bathing, swimming, and skin diving.

This effort of the Bureau was in accord to the island’s state as Siargao Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLAS) per Proclamation No. 902. Its terrestrial, wetland, and marine areas including the surrounding islets were declared as protected areas in October of 1996.

Covered during the consultation are the municipalities of Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidro and Sta. Monica.

Presently, Caraga Region has one operational WQMA, the Taguibo River WQMA established on December 28, 2012. TRWQMA, which is governed by a governing board is created purposely to oversee the water quality status of Taguibo River and other relevant activities. Said water body has beneficial use for Butuan City and the towns of Magallanes and Remedios T. Romualdes in Agusan del Norte. ###