Pursuing Reef Area Conservation
November 18, 2022

Even though reef structures in Cebu City waters were thought to be extinct, local fisherfolk claimed that there remains a patch of Cebu City’s coast where one can hook a modest-sized catch. A group of local scuba divers from the Knight-Stewards of the Sea, Inc., a non-government organization engaged in reef conservation, decided to investigate the matter in December 2020. The group sought to find a viable reef structure on the sea floor, which could very well be Cebu City’s last coral reef.

Ed Karlon Rama, a product of CfC’s Mentoring Program, is one such scuba diver. As a media development worker and staff of the Cebu City local government, he wanted his local government to be involved in protecting the environment. Encouraged by his mentor, Atty.Erwin Tiamson, he sought existing governance bodies that could help him push his reform forward. Karlon studied local legislation and discovered that the Cebu City Council passed an ordinance for the creation of a Coastline Management Board in February 2004.

However, at the time of the DE Mentoring Program, the Board had not been convened in the last four years. Ed worked to gain the former Cebu City Mayor’s support to issue a memorandum convening the coastal management board. With his persistence, he also secured seed funding for a technical study of the “last coral reef in Cebu City waters” with the Cebu Technological University. The group and the local government can use this study to declare the coral reef as a marine protected area (MPA) via an ordinance, and with it, protecting it for generations to come. The draft ordinance is prepared, and he is seeking to present it to the new Cebu City Council in late 2022.

Ed Karlon N. Rama is a journalist, academic, and media development worker engaged in conflict-sensitive journalism. Rama is now an Assistant Instructor for the University of San Carlos’ Communication Arts program. He also provides conflict-sensitive journalism training to other organizations, including for the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (PECOJON). Rama is a volunteer diver for the Knight Stewards of the Sea, Inc. (SeaKnights), where he assists with reef management activities.


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