The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) together with partner organizations and agencies appealed to leaders of indigenous peoples (IP) within the protected area during a dialogue held in Cacaoyan Forest Park and Restaurant in Barangay Cabayugan on October 26, 2023 to protect the wildlife and their habitats to help ensure a healthy biodiversity within their communities.
Elizabeth Maclang, PPSRNP protected area superintendent. said that the activity was in line with the celebration of the Indigenous People’s Month, supported by the Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes (SIBOL) project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) among others.
“These are crucial steps in preserving Palawan’s unique heritage for a brighter future,” PPSRNP said.
Jocelyn Caseres of the SIBOL project’s local office in Puerto Princesa said that 26 IP community members, including IP leaders and youth, from Cabayugan, Kayasan and Marufinas attended the activity.
She said that Atty. Jansen Jontilla and Atty. Gastanes of the NCIP -Palawan were among the resource persons during the dialogue-cum-lecture on the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (E-NIPAS Act) also known as Republic Act 11038 and Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act also known as Republic Act 9147.
The purpose of the enactment of the E-Nipas law is for the protection of the environment. It is also from the same consideration that the RA 9147. In essence, both laws complement each other. The E-NIPAS law has a larger area of concern as it concerns protected areas and within these areas are different aspects of the environment including flora and fauna, as well as their habitat. On the other hand, the RA 9147 is more specific at concerns specifically on wildlife only, which may or may not be within a protected area.
Caseres explained that SIBOL supports activities within PPSRNP.
SIBOL is a USAID project launched in 2020 that supports the management of the country’s natural resources, promote biodiversity conservation and combay environmental crimes. It aims to help the government achieve its goal of improving natural resource governance and stimulate public and private investments leading to a greater ecosystem stability and inclusive green growth. Such goal will lead to greater ecosystem stability and inclusive green growth.
SIBOL has four sites in key protected areas in the country including PPSRNP and Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat (CNCH) in Puerto Princesa City, Mantalingahan Protected Landscape in southern part of Palawan island, Masinloc-Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape in Central Luzon, and Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape in northeastern Mindanao.