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Roxas City eco-park project provides livelihood to former illegal shellfish gatherers

ROXAS CITY, Capiz (PIA) -- Sixty-two-year-old fisherfolk Salvacion Dela Cruz of Barangay Cagay in Roxas City used to be an illegal oyster grower but has abandoned the wrongdoing many years ago through the local government's help.

She is now a member of the Palina River Development Association (PARIDA) Inc. and is hopeful that brighter days await for their group with the inclusion of the Palina Greenbelt Ecopark in Brgy. Cagay here into the Regional Farm Tourism Circuits.

Salvacion Dela Cruz discusses the services they serve at the Palina Greenbelt Ecopark with the validators from DOT 6. (Photo courtesy of Capiz Tourism and Cultural Affairs Facebook page)

PARIDA Inc. manages the eco-park and has been in the business of agri-farming for more than 12 years.

Dela Cruz noted that PARIDA, Inc., organized in 2006 through the City Agriculture Office, initially ventured into mangrove reforestation along the coastal areas of Cagay and nearby planting sites.

They earned P1.00 for every mangrove they planted, and if it lived for a year, they would get P3.00. 

Dela Cruz also said that, with the support of the Roxas City government, they were granted P470,000.00 for the creation of the Palina Greenbelt Ecopark in September 2011.

“Sang una, sang ginpang demolish ang amon nga pangabuhian sa suba nag-untat eskwela ang akon mga bata, pero sang 2011 sang na buligan na kami sang city government, nag amat-amat na balik sa eskwelahan ang amon mga kabataan

(When our illegal shellfish rafts were demolished, my children stopped schooling, however in 2011, through the help of the Roxas City government, we were able to send our children back to school),” Dela Cruz said.

Dela Cruz also reminisced that if not for the ecopark, she would not be able to give her son a great future. 

“Tungod sa kita namon mag-asawa kag sa iban ko nga mga bata nga naga ubra sa ecopark nakapag-graduate kami sang bata namon sa CapSU bilang Cum laude kag sang nag ligad nga March, nakapasar siya sa exam para sa pagka-maestro (Through our income from the ecopark, our son was able to graduate as cum laude in Capiz State University and he just passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers last March)," Dela Cruz added.  

Dela Cruz also stated that the ecopark has been among the consistent DOT-accredited sites in the province. Through the DOT 6 and the continuous assistance of the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office, the number of their monthly visitors has increased, and so has their revenues. 

Currently, the association has 31 active members.

The eco-park offers seafood, river tours, spas, and other recreational services. 

As one of the agri-farm tourism in Capiz, Palina Greenbelt Ecopark also received numerous recognitions nationwide.

Further, the Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Office 6 has accredited five agricultural farm sites in the province

As one of the agri-farm tourism in Capiz, Palina Greenbelt Ecopark also received numerous recognitions nationwide that will be part of the launch of the Regional Farm Tourism Circuits from November 8 to 10, 2023. 

Members of the PARIDA Inc. togther with the validators from the DOT 6 during their ocular visit. (Photo courtesy of Capiz Tourism and Cultural Affairs Facebook page)

“Daku-dako gid nga bulig ang Regional Farm Tourism Circuits sa pagpromotar sang amon nga negosyo kay kung mahibal-an nila nga manami ang Palina Greenbelt Ecopark, kag may manami nga serbisyo, madamo nga mga turista ang mabisita (The Regional Farm Tourism Circuits is a huge opportunity in promoting our business because if a lot of people will know that Palina Greenbelt Ecopark is good and with great customer service more will visit us),” Dela Cruz said.

Aside from the eco park, these include the La Vie Food Product Manufacturing in Malitbog, Tapaz town; Department of Agriculture-Capiz Research Outreach Station (DA-ROS) in Malapad Cogon, Sigma town; Capiz Ecology Park and Cultural Village in Nagba, Cuartero town; and Martin’s Farm in Timpas, Panitan town.

PARIDA Inc. also grow their own oysters and greenshells in the ecopark. (PIA 6 photo)

According to DOT, the Regional Farm Tourism Circuits seeks to increase local tourism to relieve the demand for tourists visiting popular sites while giving small and medium-sized businesses, especially farms, more opportunities to make revenue.

In January this year, the DOT 6, in partnership with the Panay Organic Producers Organization, formed a team that conducted a bio-physical characteristics assessment, profiling, mapping, and geotagging of regional farm sites. (AGP/PLF/PIA Capiz)

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Pia Lorraine Francisco

Information Officer

Region 6

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