The Palawan Council for Sustainable Staff (PCSDS) serves as the regular professional staff of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and provides the machinery to coordinate the policy and functions, implement programs, and organize services as required by the Council in the governance, implementation, and policy direction of the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan. Based on the mandates, the PCSD is a policy making, monitoring, coordinating, and implementing body.
LEGAL BASES AND FUNCTIONS
Republic Act No. (RA) 7611 (June 19, 1992), the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act, provided for the adoption of a comprehensive framework for the sustainable development of Palawan, compatible with protecting and enhancing the natural resources and endangered environment of the province. It created the PCSD to be responsible for the governance and implementation of and provision of policy direction to the SEP.
Also pursuant to RA 7611, the PCSD is vested with the following functions:
- Plan, policy, and rule making, coordinating, oversight, enforcement, and implementing body under RA 7611 (Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act). Also, the enforcement of other existing laws, rules and regulations similar to or complementary with RA 7611 as per Section 19 (9) of RA 7611.
- Jurisdiction conferred under Section 4 of RA 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act). Specifically, Section 4 states that The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shall have jurisdiction over all terrestrial plant and animal species, all turtles and tortoises and wetland species, including but not limited to crocodiles, waterbirds and all amphibians and dugong. The Department of Agriculture (DA) shall have jurisdiction over all declared aquatic critical habitats, all aquatic resources including but not limited to all fishes, aquatic plants, invertebrates and all marine mammals, except dugong. The secretaries of the DENR and the DA shall review, and by joint administrative order, revise and regularly update the list of species under their respective jurisdiction. In the Province of Palawan, jurisdiction herein conferred is vested to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development pursuant to Republic Act No. 7611.
Thus, as the lead implementer of RA 9147 in Palawan, the following were delegated to the PCSD instead of the DENR:
- Section 19. Designation as Management and Scientific Authorities for International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – For the implementation of International agreement on international Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the management authorities for terrestrial and aquatic resources shall be the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the DENR and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the DA, respectively, and that in the Province of Palawan the implementation hereof is vested to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development pursuant to Republic Act No. 7611
- Section 20. Authority of the Secretary to Issue Permits – The Secretary or the duly authorized representative, in order to effectively implement this Act, shall issue permits/certifications/clearances/…
- Section 22. Determination of Threatened Species – The Secretary shall determine whether any wildlife species or subspecies is threatened, and classify the same as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or other accepted categories based on the best scientific data and with due regard to internationally accepted criteria, including but not limited to the following:
(a) present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range;
(b) over-utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific or educational purposes;
(c) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
(d) other natural or man-made factors affecting the existence of wildlife.
The Secretary shall review, revise and publish the list of categorized threatened wildlife within one (1) year after effectivity of this Act. Thereafter, the list shall be updated regularly or as the need arises: Provided, That a species listed as threatened shall not be removed there from within three (3) years following its initial listing.
Upon filing of a petition based on substantial scientific information of any person seeking for the addition or deletion of a species from the list, the Secretary shall evaluate in accordance with the relevant factors stated in the first paragraph of this section, the status of the species concerned and act on said petition within a reasonable period.
The Secretary shall also prepare and publish a list of wildlife which resembles so closely in appearance with listed threatened wildlife, which species shall likewise be categorized as threatened.
- Section 25. Establishment of Critical Habitats – Within two (2) years following the effectivity of this Act, The Secretary shall designate critical habitats outside protected areas under Republic Act No. 7586, where threatened species are found. Such designation shall be made on the basis of the best scientific data taking into consideration species endemicity and/or richness, presence of man-made pressures/threats to the survival of wildlife living in the area, among others.
- Section 26. Registration of Threatened and Exotic Wildlife in the Possession of Private Persons – No person or entity shall be allowed possession of wildlife unless such person or entity can prove financial and technical capability and facility to maintain said wildlife. Twelve (12) months after the effectivity of this Act, the Secretary shall set a period, within which persons/entities shall register all threatened species collected and exotic species imported prior to the effectivity of this Act. However, when the threatened species is needed for breeding/propagation or research purposes, the State may acquire the wildlife through a mutually acceptable arrangement.
- Section 30. Deputation of Wildlife Enforcement Officers – The Secretary shall deputize wildlife enforcement officers from non-government organizations, citizens groups, community organizations and other volunteers who have undergone necessary training for this purpose. The Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other law enforcement agencies shall designate wildlife enforcement officers. As such, the wild enforcement officers shall have the full authority to seize illegally traded wildlife and to arrest violators of this Act subject to existing laws, rules and regulations on arrest and detention.
- Section 32.Wildlife Rescue Center – The Secretary shall establish or designate wildlife rescue centers to take temporary custody and care of all confiscated, abandoned and/or donated wildlife to ensure their welfare and well-being. The Secretary shall formulate guidelines for the disposition of wildlife from the rescue centers.
Section 33. Creation of Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Units – The Secretary shall create wildlife traffic monitoring units in strategic air and seaports all over the country to ensure the strict compliance and effective implementation of all existing wildlife laws, rules and regulations, including pertinent international agreements.
- Lead implementing agency to implement the provisions of RA 9072 (National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act). Specifically, Section 4 states that the DENR shall be the lead agency tasked to implement the provisions of this Act in coordination with the Department of Tourism (DOT), the National Museum, the National Historical Institute and concerned local government units(LGUs) for specific caves, except that in the Province of Palawan, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development shall be the lead implementing agency pursuant to Republic Act No. 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act.
Thus, the following functions are delegated to PCSD pursuant to Section 5 of RA 9072:
(a) Formulate, develop and implement a national program for the management, protection and conservation of caves and cave resources;
(b) Disseminate information and conduct educational campaign on the need to conserve, protect and manage our caves and cave resources;
(c) Issue permits for the collection and removal of guano and other cave resources which shall be determined in coordination with the DOT, National Museum, concerned LGUs, the scientific community and the academe, with regard to specific caves taking into consideration bio-diversity as well as the aesthetic and archaeological value of the cave: Provided, that the permittee shall be required to post a bond to ensure compliance with the provisions of any permit: Provided further, that any permit issued under this Section shall be revoked by the Secretary when the permittee violates any provision of this Act or fails to comply with any other condition upon which the permit was issued: Provided furthermore, That the Secretary cannot issue permits for the removal of stalactites and stalagmites, and when it is established that the removal of the resources will adversely affect the value of a significant cave: Provided, finally, That caves located within a protected area shall be subjected to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Area System Act of 1992;
(d) Call on any local government unit, bureau, agency, state university or college and other instrumentalities of the government for assistance as the need arises in the discharge of its functions;
(e) Enter into a memorandum of agreement with any local government unit (LGU) for the preservation, development and management of cave or caves located in their respective territorial jurisdiction;
(f) Tap the cooperation of people’s and nongovernmental organizations as active partners in the conservations and protection of our caves and cave resources; and
(g) Exercise other powers and perform other functions as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this Act.
- Implementation of the provisions of RA 9175 (Chainsaw Act of 2002). Specifically provided in Section 9, “To effectively implement the provisions of this Act, the Secretary shall issue the implementing rules and regulations within 90 days upon approval of this Act. He shall likewise organize an office within the Department to ensure that the requirements imposed by this Act may be complied with by qualified persons, within the shortest possible time, at the least possible expense. In the Province of Palawan, the provisions of this Act shall be implemented by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development pursuant to Republic Act No. 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan.”
In addition, the PCSD may revoke any certificate of chainsaw registration or permit as stipulated in Section 10. Revocation of Registration and Permit – The Secretary may revoke any Certificate of Registration or permit previously issued to a person found violating the provisions of this Act, or the rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.
- Regulatory body by granting fishing privileges in municipal waters under Section 17 of RA 8550 (The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998).
Section 17. Grant of Fishing Privileges in Municipal Waters – The duly registered fisherfolk organization/cooperatives shall have preferences in the grant of fishery rights by the Municipal/City Council pursuant to Section 149 of the Local Government Code: Provided, That in areas where there are special agencies or offices vested with jurisdiction over municipal waters by virtue of special laws creating these agencies such as, but not limited to, the Laguna Lake Development Authority and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, said offices and agencies shall continue to grant permits for proper management and implementation of the aforementioned structures.
- Chairmanship to the Provincial Solid Waste Management Board (Section 11) and approving body for the Local Government Solid Waste Management Plans (Section 16) of RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000)
Section 11. Provincial Solid Waste Management Board – A Provincial Solid Waste Management Board shall be established in every province, to be chaired by the governor… Provided, further, that in the Province of Palawan, the Board shall be chaired by the chairman of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, pursuant to Republic Act No. 7611.
Section 16. Local Government Solid Waste Management Plans. – The province, city or municipality, through its local solid waste management boards, shall prepare its respective 10-year solid waste management plans consistent with the national solid waste management framework. […]
All local government solid waste management plans shall be subjected to the approval of the Commission. The plan shall be consistent with the national framework and in accordance with the provisions of this Act and of the policies set by the Commission; Provided, That in the province of Palawan, the local government solid waste management plan shall be approved by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, pursuant to R. A. No. 7611.
- Enforcement, along with other authorized persons and entities, of RA 10067 (Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) Act of 2009) and the authority to file administrative cases before the proper agencies and bodies, or initiate criminal proceedings in accordance with the Rules of Court, for offenses committed within the TRNP, as per Sec. 35 of the law. The PCSD chairperson or his/her representative shall serve as co-chairperson of Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB) (Sec. 10). The DENR and the PCSD shall coordinate closely to ensure the sound management and conservation of the TRNP and shall provide technical and financial assistance to the TRNP as may be needed (Sec. 16). Under Sec. 43 (Appropriations), the DENR and the PCSD shall include in their respective program the implementation of RA 10067, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.