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In order to lessen the negative effects of overpopulation and mismanagement of natural resources, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan requested the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) Staff, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-PENRO, and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-Palawan to provide a comprehensive report about the “carrying capacity” of the province in terms of population and visitors.
Board Member Maria Angela Sabando, author of the resolution said in her sponsorial speech during yesterday’s session, Jan. 21, that it’s high time to assess the capacity of the province because the increasing number of residents on the islands puts pressure on the natural environment.
She emphasized that the government should be ready for the consequences long before these happen through proper planning and monitoring. “Kaya po ang inyong lingkod ay nag-propose na mapag-aralan ng PCSDS, ng DENR thru PENRO at Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-Palawan, ano ba talaga ang carrying capacity ng ating probinsiya sa pagtanggap ng [mga] turista, mga bisita at mga migrant beside sa increasing population sa ating lalawigan kasi according sa UNESCO, ang Palawan ay dineclare nila as Biosphere Reserve [kaya dapat ingatan],” she explained.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Palawan Man and Biosphere Reserve is a cluster of islands composed of one long main island and smaller groups of islands around it. The 1,150,800-hectare biosphere reserve includes the entire Palawan Island.
“Each reserve promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use; a special place for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity,” the resolution said.
BM Sabando also added that being declared as one of the best tourist destinations, the safest island in the country from earthquakes and natural disasters, tourists and the people are enticed to visit, invest or live in Palawan.
“Kailangan din nating alamin ang carrying capacity ng ating probinsiya when it comes to population and visitor regarding po ito sa solid waste management kasi dapat bawat local government units, prepared sila sa kanilang solid waste facilities kasi. Kung hindi po natin mako-control ang pagdami ng populasyon, dadami rin po ang basura sa ating probinsiya,” she explained.
According to the resolution that is already now approved in the First and Final Readings, in 2018, the PSA recorded a 1.8 percent population growth rate in Palawan while the rest of the country’s rate is at 1.5 percent only.
In the last five years, the archipelagic province of Palawan has experienced an unprecedented boom in its real estate industry, a big part of which are in preparations to cater to either tourists or migrants into the islands.
Meanwhile, Board Member Albert Rama who previously proposed an ordinance creating Palawan Council for Protected Areas Management (PCPAM) expressed his full support to Sabando’s resolution. One of the major functions of the said council if created, he said, is the determination of the carrying capacity of the province of Palawan
“Because as we all know, population exerts pressure on our environment, the increasing population natin. And of course, this also puts also burden sa ating government— ‘pag lumalaki ang ating population, dumarami rin ang kinakailangang serbisyo na ibigay natin,” Rama said.