Conducted by ERDB
Completed on 2009
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After the Centennial Celebration of the Philippine Independence Day and the first celebration of the Kalayaan Provincial Festival of Cavite in 1998, a proposal to establish the "Philippine Independence park Legacy Project" was submitted to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for consideration and approval. However, it took several years before an actual research study was undertaken to assess the merits, potentials, and viability of the proposed project.
Recently, in November 2008, as a support activity to the proposed Project, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), as funding agency, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), as implementing agency, and the Municipal Office of Kawit, Cavite (LGU), as coordinating agency, entered into a Memoramdum of Agreement (MOA) relative to the implementation of a research study entitled "The Independence Park Cum Ecotourism and Mangrove Rehabilitation Project: A Scoping Study". The scoping study had three components: a) socio-cultural analysis; b) mangrove assessment ; and c) market, financial and economic prospects of the proposed Project.
PCARRD provided PhP 449,995.00 or about 70% of the funding requirement of the study, while the Kawit Local Government Unit, with contributions from the Office of Senator Ramon \"Bong\" Revilla, Jr. and the Kawit Sagip-Ilog and Anti-Flood Group, put up the remaining 30% counterpart fund or PhP 196,080.00
While ERDB served as the main proponent and implementor of the study, the marketing, economic, and financial component was handled by the UPLB-College of Forestry and Natural Resources.
The study aimed to prepare an activity proposal (or proposals), logical framework (if appropriate), and terms of reference (TOR) as basis for undertaking a feasibility study for the proposed Philippine Independence Park Cum Ecotourism and Mangrove Rehabilitation Project.
The study was conducted for a period of four (4) months and was confined maily in the six barangays of Kawit where the proposed Project will be established.
The study depended much on the results of informal personal interviews and focus group discussions with key informants and officials; hired interviewers used prepared interview schedules. The output were supplemented with available information taken from various offices in Kawit and nearby municipalities.
The socio-cultural profile of the residents in the study sites reveals that there are more females than males in the six barangays. Most of them are fairly educated, belong to the middle age bracket, are married, profess the Roman Catholic religion, and have steady sources of incomes. They also have positive perception and attitude towards tourism development. These suggest that Kawit residents have the necessary demographic characteristics that could be tapped for the establishment of the ecotourism project in and around the municipality.
Aside from the above, it was also found that the existing facilities and services are useful for the proposed Project. The rich cultural heritage (such as Maytinis and Karakol) and attractions in Kawit (such as old traditional Spanish houses), its historical sites (such as the Aguinaldo museum, Tirona monument), its diverse line of local products and festivities, all provide diverse opportunities for tourism to flourish.
However, with regard to the status of mangrove resources, which are necessary for the continuing productivity of the coastal fisheries of the area, the remaining mangrove cover is but a tiny strip of vegetation confined mainly on the dikes of fishponds and banks of the Marulas River. There are remnants of mature Avicennia marina in combination with planted and mature Rhizophora mucronata species; more are necessary.
The products derived from the remaining mangrove areas are dwindling, which justifies the need for their immediate rehabilitation. Possible rehabilitation strategies include use of nursery-raised seedlings, propagation of existing mangrove species in the area that are currently critically low in number of individuals (e.g. Lumnitzera racemosa, Bruguiera cylindrica,etc), and at the extreme end, breaching dike walls to create tidal channels.
The Kawit tourism industry benefits from its strategic location, being in close proximity to Metro manila and CALABARZON. Its historical and religious sites complement the other tourist destinations in Cavite. many of the visitors are local students, but there is a potential to expand the tourist base to include older sectors of the society, as well as foreigners.
Results of assessments reveal that the proposed Project has excellent potentials to enhance the development of the town of Kawit in particular and the province of Cavite in general as ecotourism destinations. The proposed Project was generally found acceptable to the local community and stakeholders.
On the basis of the overall findings in this Scoping Study, it is hereby highly recommended that a Philippine Independence Park Commission under the Office of the President be created to oversee, direct, and manage the operations of the proposed Project.
However, it is necessary that a larger study be undertaken to further probe and determine the validity of this conclusion. Specifically, the following are recommended:
a Conduct a full-blown feasibility study, taking particular attention to the development of the 43.0 ha flag-shaped area into a Spanish-Circa 1800 inspired park with the following structures and facilities:
a. 7.0 ha Spanish villa
b. 6.0 ha chapel with nature park and children\'s playground
c. Fishing ground and picnic area with souvenir shops
e. Boating area
f. Stilt bridge
g. Welcome arc
h. Intramuros-inspired wall, with jogging area and parade ground
i. Parking area
j. Marina (pier) for small boats
k. convention Center or tentatively called Kawit First Republic Cultural and Convention Center
b. Present the results of the scoping study to other institutions (e.g., PAGCOR) and the private sector to solicit funds for the conduct of the feasibility study.
c. Seek support from PCARRD-DOST in providing seed money to start the implementation of the feasibility study.
d. Get the support of concerned government agencies (e.g. NHI, DOT, DENR, DEPED, DPWH, etc.) in implementing the feasibility study.
In conducting the feasibility, the following risks should be looked into that may pose constraints in the implementation of the proposed Project:
a. Need to gain the full cooperation of the affected occupants and prepare them to face the changes that the proposed Project may bring.
b. Lack of support from the local officials (e.g., Barangay officials); there is a still weak political sponsorship from Malacanang and other branches of the government.