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More than 40 participants from the government, academe, barangay, indigenous people, institutions and stakeholders participated the Stakeholders Forum for Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat (CNCH) as part of the process of formulation of management plan for the protection and conservation of the newly-declared critical habitat covering seven barangays in Puerto Princesa City.
CNCH is one of the country’s biggest critical habitat covering an area of 41,350 hectares and Palawan’s second highest peak at 1,593 meters above sea level. It was the oldest and most diverse forest. It is also the home of threatened endemic wildlife species, thus, its declaration as critical habitat is vital to the survival of these species.
Atty. Carlo B. Gomez, the City Environment and Natural Resources Officer said that the CNCH is the first in Puerto Princesa City and first in Palawan to be declared as such.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) –Protect Wildlife project said that the purpose of the forum is to raise the awareness of the stakeholders in identifying the issues and concerns that are vital in the conservation and management of CNCH.
Present during the activity were city government offices like the city planning, environment, tourism, agriculture, and other concerned offices. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc (PSFI), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Palawan State University, Western Philippine University (WPU), Holy Trinity University (HTU) and Center for Sustainability, a non-government organization. Also present are the barangay officials from seven barangays such as San Rafael, Binduyan, Tanabag, Concepcion, Langogan, Tagabinet and New Panggangan. The indigenous peoples (IP) in the area was also represented through the presence of some IPMR and IP leaders.
The CNCH Management Board is chaired by City Mayor, Lucilo R. Bayron. The members include the DENR, PCSD, City ENRO Atty. Carlo Gomez, City Planning and Development Officer, Engr. Jovenee Sagun, City Legal Officer Atty Arnel Pedrosa, Sangguniang Panlungsod chairman of the committee on environment, NGO, people’s organization, IP, and seven punong barangays.
Its Technical Working Group is composed of the different government agencies like the city government, DENR, PCSD, barangay kagawad who chaired the committee on environment of the seven barangays, the academe such as PSU, WPU, HTU, Center for Sustainability, among others.