The City Government’s Bantay Puerto Program is now the Enforcement Division of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO).
Atty. Carlo B. Gomez, the City ENR Officer, welcomed this development as he emphasized the significant roles of the enforcement arm in implementing the City ENRO’s mandate to protect and conserve Puerto Princesa’s environment and natural resources through enforcement of existing environmental laws and ordinances.
As early as the 1990s, the City Government established the Bantay Puerto Program consisted of Bantay Gubat, Bantay Dagat and Bantay Bakawan. In 1994, the Local Government Academy-Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Ford Foundation recognized the program in the prestigious Galing Pook Awards Program (Gantimpalang Paglingkod Pook). Since then, the Bantay Puerto Program as Galing Pook winner, became models of good governance promoted for adoption in other parts of the country.
Atty. Gomez said that since the transfer of the Bantay Puerto Program to the City ENRO in June 2020, through an Executive Order issued by City Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron, the City ENRO’s Enforcement Division is now in existence.
Atty. Gomez added that the Bantay Gubat, one of the components of the Enforcement Division is now under the leadership of Jessie Rublico, former Punong Barangay of Inagawan-Sub. He said that he has marching orders to the Enforcement Division (formerly the Bantay Puerto Program) to strengthen its community engagement in the City’s different barangays, in order to further gain support for the Office’s programs, projects and activities. This can be done through Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaign, school visit, bayanihan and other forms of engagement.
Through these, the services of the Enforcement Division of the City ENRO will be made available and accessible to the constituents in the barangays.
Aside from its environmental protection roles, they also consider non-enforcement activities as equally important parts of their mandate, such as bayanihan, disaster response, emergency response, community request, and others. They also strengthened their patrolling and monitoring activities as a strong deterrent to illegal activities. This way, the barangays and its inhabitants will feel their presence. This will pave way to more intensified environmental protection activities towards enforcement through community participation, with the City ENRO’s enforcement arm and the barangay residents helping each other to prevent environmental destruction and illegal activities.
“’Pag naintindihan ng tao ang kahalagahan ng environment ay ma-lessen ang exposure nito sa threats. Kaya dapat ipaintindi sa kanila na hindi dapat sirain ang environment. It will serve as a big deterrent,” Atty. Gomez explained.
He also said that the Bantay Puerto Program will be tested to perform vital tasks in the newly created Puerto Princesa City-Environmental Protection Task Force (PPC-EPTF).
PPC-EPTF, which was established through an executive order issued by Mayor Bayron, consists of the City Government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), other government agencies, academe, non-government organizations created into one multi-agency environmental protection body.