Chevron Philippines, Inc. (CPI), the people behind Caltex fuels, lubricants and filling stations, continue to make their presence count for more than just industry. At Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union where CPI operates one of their major fuel depots, the petroleum giant has been working the long game to give the picturesque bay a chance to recover from illicit and uncontrolled fishing methods. With CPI’s financial assistance, and their influence, the Institute for Social Order (ISO), an apostolate of Ateneo de Manila University, has gotten community, business and government stakeholders on a common path to establishing the Poro marine protected area (MPA). Their efforts which led to the launching of the Luto di Poro livelihood project for local fisher folk, and the city ordinance creating the Poro MPA, both last March, now finally bring the start of the MPA’s strict enforcement.
Press Statement by Chevron Philippines, Inc., “Caltex Poro Marine Protected Area Marker Unveiled,” 2016:
San Fernando City, La Union—Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI), marketer of Caltex fuels and lubricants, together with the Institute of Social Order (ISO), the City of San Fernando, and the Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC), unveiled the Poro Marine Protected Area (MPA) marker, which signalled the start of the strict enforcement of City Ordinance No. 2015-03 “An Ordinance Establishing the Poro MPA, Creating Its Management Council and Providing for Its Management”, which was passed on March this year to establish a better clarification of management functions and pursue sustainable options, as well as allow marine and fishery resources to flourish.
“My dream is to be able to see the MPA regain its rich marine life, where visitors and local residents of San Fernando will enjoy the waters and the white sand beach that fringes the Poro Point Baywalk,” said Ives Nisce, chairman of the board of directors of PPMC. “I have witnessed the development of an MPA in Cebu – the Minantaw Marine Park and Sanctuary, which I was belatedly informed is also a Caltex project. I was impressed with the marine life growth I saw while snorkeling, and wished the same for Poro,” added Nisce.
The onslaught of dynamite and cyanide fishing in previous years have heavily affected the coastal area in Barangay Poro, and already showed evidence of depleted fishery resources and degraded fish habitats, which led to the creation of the Poro MPA and the setting up of the Poro MPA Management Council through the strategic partnership among the private sector, the LGU, the ISO and the community.
The community’s sense of ownership over the MPA is essential, and requires substantial participation in planning and implementation. The Poro MPA Council exemplifies the community members’ unified pursuit of environmental sustainability by protecting the coastal area.
Serving as MPA guardians are the members of the Poro Management Council, many of whom are members of the Poro Sea Lovers Association (PSLA), a people’s organization formed out of a five-year program to which the CPI provided Php7.2 million in funding. The program is implemented through a public private partnership among the CPI, the City of San Fernando and the ISO.
PSLA is comprised of fishers and environment-conscious members of the community of Poro who also started to engage in social enterprises such as food and catering services to support their environmental conservation and protection activities. From an initial membership of 63 in June 2014, the PSLA now has 83 members.
This partnership between the private sector, government and NGOs in promoting and supporting environmental sustainability continues to encourage all stakeholders to engage in the rehabilitation and pursuit of sustainable options in conserving, protecting and developing the area. Already talks are underway for the program to partner with local academic institutions not only to pursue environmental research and environmental education, but also to help the PSLA members in developing social enterprises which would complement its environmental advocacy in the near future.
CPI, which maintains an oil terminal in Poro Point, believes in supporting projects that address human needs, protect the environment, and help small businesses to foster the economic growth of the country, and the well-being of communities.