The making of a sanctuary: the case of the olango wildlife sanctuary (lapu-lapu city, cebu)
The Olango Wildlife Sanctuary lies on the southern shore of
Olango Island, an island six miles off the east coast of mainland Cebu. It was
declared a protected area by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No.903, signed
by former President Corazon C. Aquino on May 14, 1992. The sanctuary has a total
land area of 920 hectares. This wetland is internationally significant because
it supports the largest concentration of migratory waders found in the country.
These migratory birds include endangered species like the Asiatic Dowitcher
(Limnodromus semipalmatus) and the Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes). Like most
wetlands, Olango is a nursery and breeding ground of commercially important
fishes. Forthe local residents, it is a source of food and livelihood.
The Olango Wildlife Sanctuary
· There is power in
The PWWCFI's discovery of the presence of 40,000 to 60,000
migratory birds in the area had great impact on bird studies on the East Asian
Flyway. The East Asian Flyway, which includes the Philippines, is one of the
most important shorebird and water-bird migration pathways in the world. A total
of 77 species of migratory birds use this flyway. The Philippines hosts over
half of this number of species. So far, Olango Island supports the largest
concentration of migratory waders in the country. Up to today, PWWCFI regularly
conducts bird counts, bird-banding and habitat monitoring. Data gathered from
these activities supported the recommendation for the granting of protected area
status to Olango.
· A broad
multisectoral alliance is indispensable in moving government machinery towards
the protection of the environment.
To move the government agencies in the region into endorsing
favorably the recommendations of PWWCFI, a number of NGOs and concerned
individuals in the region and in the nation issued statements of support and
position papers. These supporters either used their resources or provided such
resources to PWWCFI in convincing government officials of the importance of
protecting Olango. The support of conservation organizations and individuals
from other rations was another factor in the success. This alliance was gained
through information and networking activities.
· The trust of the
local people is gained through integration with the local
The presence of PWWCFI personnel in the area was a factor in
reversing the initial opposition of the local people to the declaration of
Olango as protected area. PWWCFI identified the misconceptions that had to be
eliminated and the socioeconomic needs of the people which had to be responded
There is a lot of potential for ecotourism which will add to the
coffers of the local treasury and contribute to a better quality of life for the
local residents. To be erected soon are boardwalks, which will facilitate
passage through but will limit disturbance in the sanctuary; and, a Nature
Center, which is envisioned to house research and information facilities.
Technical assistance for alternative conservation livelihood schemes, like fish
culture in cages, shall also be extended to the marginalized sectors like the
PWCF Olango Brochure. (in process), Magsalay, P. The
Philippine Wetland Conservation Programme. 1991. Paper presented during the
Fourth World Congress on National Parks and Protected Areas, held in Caracas,
Venezuela, February 10-21,1992.
Ideas for Action:
A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28,