/ 3 July 2023

THE GERRY Roxas Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development awarded a P16.5 million research grant to the University of Santo Tomas.

The project on environmental conservation and ecotourism in Siquijor province was among 11 grants from GRF’s Investing in Sustainable Partnerships for Inclusive Growth and Regenerative Ecosystems program.

The university’s Research and Endowment Foundation Inc. will lead the project titled “Siquijor Island Conservation and Restoration: Toward a Regenerative Ecotourism Destination.”

It aims to ensure that the island’s natural ecosystems will be conserved and restored, “leading to a sustainable and regenerative Siquijor Island.”

“For 2.5 years, this action research project hopes to aid Siquijor’s collaborative governance efforts on environmental protection, environmental conservation education, and achieving community-based sustainable livelihood,” UST said.

“The project seeks to empower Siquijor’s provincial and municipal governments to regulate the use of trees and medicinal plants, curb illegal and unregulated fishing activities, encourage tourism development, reduce solid and liquid wastes, and control freshwater consumption,” the university said.

“These efforts contribute to the vision of making Siquijor a “zero-waste island,” it added.

The REFI team will be led by its Executive Director Fr. Maximo Gatela and Technical Team Leader Dr. Moises Norman Garcia.

Team members include Dr. Maria Rosario Virginia Cobar-Garcia, Dr. Arlen Ancheta and Dr. Alain Jomarie Santos, as well as Asst. Prof. Arnold Distor and Asst. Prof. Racquel Layco.