After nearly 33 years of government service, Ms Lynette Laroya, a mainstay of CTI-CFF, is bidding goodbye to her post at the Philippines’ Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Happily, it may well be only a temporary goodbye to CTI-CFF. Ms Laroya, who coordinated and facilitated for five years the activities of the Philippines' CTI-CFF National Coordination Committee (NCC-Philippines) Secretariat, is contemplating accepting one of a number of job offers from CTI-CFF Partner organizations, albeit not before the birth of her first grandchild, due in March. “I hope to continue to be involved in some capacity because I really love CTI-CFF,” she says.
Taking over her duties at the NCC-Philippines Secretariat is Ms Angelita (Angie) Meniado, who will be assisted by Mr Pablo (Ogie) Delos Reyes. Both Ms Meniado and Mr Delos Reyes are with the Coastal and Marine Division of BMB.
Ms Laroya, who joined DENR in 1980, jokingly describes her movement in the organization as “top to bottom” because she served as Senior Conservation Officer “working in the uplands" before discovering her passion for the sea and deciding to specialize in coastal and marine management. By 2007, when multilateral talks on CTI-CFF were set to begin, she had chalked up about 20 years of coastal and marine work, making her one of only a few experienced coastal and marine specialists in government and the obvious choice to handle staff work on CTI-CFF for DENR.
A familiar face around CTI-CFF meetings, Ms Laroya played a key role in organizing NCC-Philippines keeping it active despite logistical challenges. “Our office has other functions in addition to serving as the NCC Secretariat, so it was difficult for us to give our CTI-CFF work the focus it needed,” she relates. She is pushing for the creation of a unit of about five staff members wholly dedicated to CTI-CFF concerns.
Ms Laroya was also a prime mover for the CTI-CFF Working Group on Marine Protected Areas (MPA WG) and takes pride in the work that the MPA WG has accomplished. The MPA WG, which is chaired by the Philippines, has perhaps the most developed work program among the five CTI-CFF thematic WGs. It is poised to achieve a key milestone in May this year when the Coral Triangle MPA System (CTMPAS) is launched at the World Coral Reef Conference in Manado, Indonesia.
Ms Laroya hopes to remain in the thick of things, one way or another. “As I told the NCC Secretariat, if they need my help, I can assist them,” she says, “even remotely by Internet if I’m away.”