DOST-NRCP researcher recommends Mt. Agad-Agad as another National Protected Area

After documenting 751 species of which 22% are threatened and endemic, the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) targets to file a bill for the national conservation and protection of this 520-meter above sea level mountain in Lanao del Norte.

Dr. Victor Amoroso, project leader and an NRCP expert on biodiversity, calls for the national and global protection of the mountain’s 165 threatened and endemic species. These are species of plants, insects, birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, bats, and rodents.

It was suggested during the breakout session on the 2nd day of the 4th NRCP-Congress policy research forum for public policy development held recently to find a district representative or a sponsor to file it. Amoroso is eyeing second quarter of 2024 to draft and propose the said bill.

“We will validate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) whether our study has already passed the Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA), one of the steps to legislate and establish a proposed protected area, and then we will draft the bill.”

This NRCP project, “Biodiversity Inventory, Assessment and Conservation for Ecotourism Development in Mt. Agad-Agad, Lanao del Norte,” which was presented at the policy research forum, was a study requested by Former Congressman Frederick W. Siao.

Through this biodiversity study, Amoroso’s team were able to document the species’ richness, diversity, and their conservation and ecological status. Two barangay ordinances and one city ordinance were also legislated because of this research.

The study was also instrumental in the formation of Mount Agad-Agad Biodiversity and Ecotourism Council (MAABEC) and Mount Agad-Agad Ecotourism and Biodiversity Association (MAEBA), and the declaration of the mountain as a local conservation area in the city.

NRCP is eyeing to list Mt. Agad-Agad on the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System or E-NIPAS which recognizes the conservation areas and the management regimes being implemented by local government units (LGUs), local communities and indigenous peoples (IPs).

E-NIPAS defines protected areas as portions of land and water set aside by reason of their unique physical and biological significance, managed to enhance biological diversity and protected against destructive human exploitation.

At present, there are 114 protected areas proclaimed under the NIPAS and E-NIPAS, with Mt. Inayawan Range Natural Park as the one protected area in Lanao del Norte.

Amoroso, together with other researchers, scientists, and innovators are invited to join the Council for the 2024 Annual Scientific Conference and 91st General Membership Assembly on 12 March 2024 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). (Jenny Leigh A. Daquioag, S&T Media Service, DOST Providing Solutions! Opening Opportunities!”)

(In photo: A group of researchers from the National Research Council of the Philippines documents the plants of Mt. Agad-Agad using transect sampling technique.)
(Photo credits Val Zabala, NRCP: Dr. Victor Amoroso, member-researcher of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), presented the results of his biodiversity study during the 4th NRCP-Congress policy research forum for public policy development on February 5, 2024 at the Nograles Hall, House of Representatives, Batasan Hills, Quezon City.)