Thirty years ago, Palawan’s biodiversity was in the throes of destruction. In contrast to flattering descriptions and visuals splashed all over the media for all its natural wonders, it used to struggle for its existence punctuated by environmental abuse and decimation, aggravated by lack of law enforcement and neglect back in the day.
The birth of Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act, however, on June 19, 1992 turned the situation around, breathing life to its forest and seas, reviving its pulsating god-given riches in natural resources.
In celebration of SEP’s 30th year, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and its staff commissioned and supervised activities reflecting the essence of the SEP Act’s mission and vision.
From June 14-20, a photo and digital exhibit was set up at the SM Puerto Princesa City, showcasing to the public the SEP’s mission, its achievements, and history since its enactment in 1992.
Zion Coruna, a visitor, said that the photo exhibit is informative of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development’s work, on top of the fact that a live band graced the event with performances, to set the mood of the photo and digital exhibit.
“Para sa akin, iyong youth at may mga edad na ay mas magiging aware. Mas mapangagalagaan natin ang likas yaman natin [dahil sa exhibit},” he said.
Aside from this, the PCSD and its Staff also initiated and participated in tree planting initiatives in Narra, Coron, San Vicente, Roxas, Busuanga, Rizal, and Montible.
To spread information on the ground, the staff also conducted an Information, Communication, and Educational (IEC) campaign by holding it in different communities, in a bid to raise awareness regarding Wildlife Act, Chainsaw Act, PCSD permitting system, and also the work that PCSD does, among others.
“There is a need to conduct more activities na ganito. Nagre-request nga sila ng more discussions,” Kisha Hardiolen, a PCSDS presenter, said.
on to SEP’s 30th year celebration is set to end by July.
In capping the month-long event on June 19, moreover, the PCSD staff and its media partners have converged at the SM Cinema to celebrate and recognize the SEP Law’s crucial role in its 30th year of implementation.
The event was festooned with the recognition of the PCSD’s efforts and achievement over the last 30 years, as well as the challenges that the agency has faced and is currently facing head on.
PCSD Executive Director Teodoro Jose Matta said that without the enactment of SEP law, it could lead to Palawan’s adverse environmental destruction.
“Without SEP law, baka kalbo na ang Palawan,” he said.
Matta also said that PCSD will continue to fulfill its mandate and will not shake up its focus.
“There will not be a shift in focus. Ang dami na nga natin kailangang gawin. Do what we are doing, strengthen our program,” he added.
The presentation of the Coffee Table Book that shows in detail the law’s history was also launched in the event, which is geared towards this year’s theme of “Thirty Years of Sustainable Development.”