The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) received donation of tools and equipment for wildlife law enforcement in Palawan from the United States Department of State during a donation ceremony held on March 25, 2022 at the Palawan Sustainable Development Training Institute (PSDTI), Brgy. Irawan, Puerto Princesa City.
In a short program during the said event, Atty. Teodoro Jose S. Matta, PCSDS Executive Director, expressed gratitude for the said donation. “The PCSDS is committed to effectively perform our mandate to enforce environmental laws in the province as prescribed by the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act or the SEP Law. The task at hand is huge and difficult. We recognize that no single agency can single-handedly enforce these environmental laws. That is why we value our partners because we believe that only through strong partnerships can we achieve anything. Environmental protection is best pursued with cooperation among stakeholders. We always believe that environmental protection and conservation is a community responsibility. It is everybody’s job,” Executive Director Matta mentioned in his speech. Despite its limitations and challenges in carrying out its obligations, the PCSDS, as guaranteed by Exec. Dir. Matta, will continue to fulfill its mandate of enforcing environmental laws in the province.
Hon. Heather Variava, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Department of State, also expressed appreciation for the opportunity to celebrate an important milestone in the US-Philippines shared vision of environmental protection and conservation. “The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development is an integral element of this vision, and we are providing tools and equipment as part of the United States’ commitment to investing in the PCSD’s important environmental efforts. We are encouraged by the progress that has been made in achieving these environmental protection goals, from enforcement to policymaking and implementation,” Hon. Variava discussed in her talk.
According to her, the equipment provided by the US Department of State will support the PCSDS in various activities, including wildlife search and rescue and evidence retention. The equipment donation also aims to enhance the capacity of the PCSDS’ ECAN Zones Management and Enforcement Division (EZMED) to successfully investigate and prosecute environmental crimes and cases.
The PCSDS will also receive a multi-year project from the US Forest Service (USFS). The USFS will provide technical expertise to assist PCSD in combatting illegal logging, wildlife poaching, and the illegal trafficking of forest products and wildlife. The US Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and USAID Philippines are two other US government agencies that will partner with the PCSD.