Force of Nature
Mayor Alan Jose K. Aroy of Macrohon, Southern Leyte talks about the importance of eco-management as a key to sustainable growth.
BY RAMIL FARIÑAS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO PERALTA, JR.
In the border of Southern Leyte, where verdant mountains stand tall, a horizon of blue sky and still
clouds hover above connecting these wonders into one picture. It’s as if the sea is a sleeping maiden
cloaked in a vast blue cape, and the mountains and tall trees are her guards. Painting this beautiful
panorama is Macrohon, a town known as the champion of coastal communities.
Under the leadership of Mayor Alan Jose K. Aroy, the municipality was awarded the grand prize in the
Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (DA-BFAR) 2018 Malinis at
Masaganang Karagatan (MMK) National Search for Outstanding Coastal Communities. The annual
nationwide program recognizes outstanding coastal communities that have exemplary efforts on
coastal resource protection and conservation.
The town had been implementing the strict ban on illegal fishing with the observance of “off fishing season” (a time when commercial fishing of certain fish species is prohibited) and has declared its treasures as marine protected areas. It had kept its coastal waters clean and garbage-free, and had continued implementing the planting, protection, and rehabilitation of mangroves. For meeting the
criteria and much more, Macrohon bested 75 coastal communities in the said search.
Mayor Aroy says it’s a great honor to be lauded for their efforts. According to him, the local government had been planning and working to conserve Macrohon’s coastal areas since 1996. Back then, he was serving as a board member. This year, Macrohon finally reaped what they had sown. Mayor Aroy received the award at the Siquijor Provincial Capitol, Siquijor, Siquijor last July 19, 2019. Then-Agriculture Secretary
Emmanuel Piñol together with BFAR Director Eduardo Gongona conferred the award on the town.
RIDGE TO REEF
One of the approaches that Mayor Aroy adopted is the “Ridge to Reef” approach. “What we did there was we noted the interconnectivity of all resources—from the forest down to the coastal areas,” he explains.