The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) thru the ECAN Education and Extension Division (EEED) conducted the 2021 Palawan Kiddie and Youth Wildlife Saver’s Club virtual event on April 27, 2021.
With the theme “Be better and Consistent: Sustainable Development for young audiences,” said event was held via Facebook live and aimed at familiarizing and enlightening the children and youth about the importance of practicing Zero Waste lifestyle, taking action in safeguarding the Palawan Pangolin and promoting its conservation and supporting the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) that is being observed in the province of Palawan.
The aforementioned virtual program which commenced from 3 PM to 4 PM garnered 313 responses from pupils and students all over the province who participated in the event and reached a total of 3,690 people in the PCSDS Facebook page.
Among the distinguished speakers who shared valuable knowledge and insights on the above-mentioned topics are Mr. Edilberto Magpayo from Tandikan Program of Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc., Ms. Darlyn Coroña from Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – Philippines, and Ms. Kishia Hardiolen from PCSDS-EEED.
Championing the cause of Palawan Pangolin, Ms. Darlyn Coroña of ZSL-Philippines informed the online participants that there are only 8 species of Pangolin in the world, four of which are found in Africa while the remaining four species can be found in Asia. Through the discussion, the online participants learned that one of the Pangolin species in Asia can be found in the Philippines, specifically in the province of Palawan. They also came to know that wildlife poaching and trafficking of the said critically endangered and endemic mammal is one of the pressing issues or concerns that need to be addressed and what the ZSL-Philippines have been advocating to reduce, if not eradicate for years now.
The sad reality that Pangolins are being hunted for their scale and meat, which are used in making traditional Chinese medicine and exotic cuisine, also caught the attention of the online viewers of the event. It made them realize the importance of “Balik-Balikon project” of ZSL-Philippines which is aimed at protecting the remaining populace of the Palawan Pangolins that are still under the threat of being harmed by illegal wildlife traffickers. Also, the initiative of ZSL-Philippines of proposing Lake Manguao in Taytay, Palawan as the Local Pangolin Conservation Area increased their awareness that such place, where occurrence of Palawan Pangolin as well as other endangered wildlife species such as the Palawan Bearded Pig, Palawan Peacock-pheasant, Asian Palm Civet, Palawan Bearcat, etc has been recorded by the camera traps of Taytay’s Community Monitoring team, really needs to be established as a conservation area for wildlife species.
At the end of her discussion, Ms. Coroña asked the online viewers what they think they can do to help save the Palawan Pangolin. She even recommended that they should share the knowledge they have acquired in the event to their family and friends, respect all wildlife, plant endemic trees and throw their garbage properly.
Following her presentation, Mr. Edilberto “Edong” Magpayo of the Tandikan Program of Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. shared practical tips on living out a Zero Waste Lifestyle. He stressed out the importance of reducing waste consumption by using alternative means in buying and consuming products in the market. He introduced the 10 R’s in attaining Zero Waste lifestyle which consist of the following: 1) Respect; 2) Responsible; 3) Reuse; 4) Recycle/Re-purpose; 5) Reduce; 6) Refuse; 7) Recover; 8) Rot; 9) Restore; and 10) Rejoice. Through this discussion, the online participants came to know that these things are all practical and sustainable ways to help protect and conserve the environment.
He emphasized that people should respect nature as it brings life and gives us joy by the ecological and tourism-related benefits it provides us. Also, he encouraged everyone to follow the anti-littering ordinances and national laws being observed in the country which are meant to protect nature as many would be affected in the long run if such ordinances and environmental laws are not observed or neglected. Not only that, he even persuaded them to refuse using single-use plastics and containers and use organic and sustainable materials like eco-bags, bamboo straw, bamboo tumbler and bamboo utensils instead as doing so would help minimize the use of single-use plastics that pollute the environment. He also promoted reusing and recycling things found in each person’s household as they could be turned into another useful kind of material or thing.
According to him, one’s creativity could also be exhibited when turning such materials into another form. Even incorporating biodegradable wastes into the soil that makes such soil fertile was also mentioned in his discussion. But in his presentation, he made it clear how people should reduce and avoid improper disposal of plastic wastes as they often end up in seas which could ultimately be eaten by marine life species such as marine turtles causing their eventual death.
At the latter part of his talk, some of the questions that he answered pertaining his topic include the following: What are the wastes? Is it possible to live in a waste-free environment? What kind of wastes or garbage do people contribute to the environment?
Concerning the above-mentioned matter, he shared that one of the nine ecological principles states that everything must go somewhere and one concrete example that best exemplifies this is our problem with plastic waste. To illustrate how this is a serious problem these days, he shared a fiction, a story about a turtle ingesting plastic in the ocean that came from irresponsible people not minding such waste they improperly dispose in the environment which often times reaches the ocean. He said that in order to address this problem, we should be mindful of where we throw our wastes or garbage. We should dispose them at the proper places so that the future generation would still be able to see such marine life species in their lifetime and not solely in the books.
Solidifying the event’s campaign for environmental conservation, wildlife conservation and zero waste lifestyle, Ms. Kisha Hardiolen of PCSDS-EEED shared insights on Republic Act 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act which is a special law of its kind in the Philippines specifically adapted for Palawan’s unique ecological conditions.
She stressed out that SEP law provides an all-inclusive framework for the sustainable development of Palawan that is compatible with conserving and enhancing the natural resources and endangered environment of Palawan. She also echoed UNESCO’s definition of sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
Through the discussion of the SEP Law, the online participants were enlightened about the three key features of the SEP Law which include ecological viability, social acceptability, and integrated approach. According to Ms. Hardiolen, ecological viability pertains to the physical and biological cycles that maintain natural ecosystems’ productivity while social acceptability affirms people’s commitment in supporting sustainable development activities in the province. She also emphasized that the SEP employs the integrated approach that provides a holistic view of problems and issues and opportunities for coordination and sharing to implement and sustain SEP activities.
Moreover, she shared the Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN) zoning system which includes the core zones, restricted use zone, controlled use zone, traditional use zone, and multiple-use zones. To make the online participants understand why such zones were delineated, they were given necessary information on the allowed human activities or developments for each zone under the ECAN zoning system which covers Palawan’s terrestrial, coastal/marine, and ancestral domains. During this presentation, the ECAN being established to conserve and protect the forests, watersheds, and biological diversity of Palawan was also given emphasis.
Ms. Hardiolen also pointed out that ECAN is being implemented to protect and preserve the province’s indigenous people communities’ culture, maintain maximum sustainable yield, and protect the endangered species and their habitat.
At the end of the one-hour virtual program, announcement of the ongoing PCSDS’ Vlogging Contest in line with the Earth Day celebration was made, wherein the winner of such contest would become the 2021 Palawan Kiddie and Youth Wildlife Saver’s Club ambassador, taking part in PCSDS’ environmental conservation campaigns and advocacies in Palawan.