Last June 19, 2018 at the Citystate Asturias Hotel, the Scientific Advisory Panel held its 4th meeting which tackled the following issues: ECAN Delineation, Tourism Policy, Sustainability of Freshwater and the Abalone and Sea Cucumber exploitation.
To urgently develop and implement a mechanism to protect and manage threatened species and ecosystem types in lower elevation areas in the context of tenure, settlements and ancestral domains were one of the recommendations in response to ECAN Delineation. Pursuing beach forest protection and establishing coastal greenbelts were also raised.
In terms of controlling the conduct of tourists in Palawan, the panel recommended in adopting the relevant provisions of existing Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Responsible Tourism and it should also be mandatory for tourist agencies to learn of these codes of conducts. The panel have also recommended that there should be a review on the current tourism policy and plan of the province.
A water balance study with climate change scenarios and with imposed water demand projections to quantify fresh-water extractions was recommended by the panel, ensuring environmental conservation objectives. Exploring a holistic approach to water sourcing will also be a solution to ensuring sustainability of freshwater extraction for domestic, agricultural and commercial use in Palawan.
And lastly, there should be a study on production of hybrids for abalones and sea cucumbers as well as management of the sites including reserves. Imposing size limit species and adopting the size limits implemented by other Pacific Islands and other countries will help regulate the over-exploitation of abalone a sea cucumber in Palawan.
In the afternoon of the said day, plenary sessions were held; (1) Presentation and adoption of “Statements and Policy Advices” on four issues and (2) Overarching Policy Issue: Palawan as an Island Ecosystem.
After the adjournment of the meeting, a press conference was held.
A full document will be posted upon finalization of the statement and recommendations on the issues discussed by the SAP.
The 4th meeting of the Scientific Advisory Panel was attended by 16 SAP members and joined by 5 new members:
Dr. Benjamin J. Gonzales, VP for Research, WPU
Mr. Romeo B. Trono, Consultant – UNOPS; WWF
Dr. Gabriel D. Pamintuan, Professor – UP Diliman
Dr. Annette Meñez, Professor – UP MSI
Ms. Noela Lasmarias, Board Member – REECS