Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan

the-challenges-for-the-palawan-biosphere-reserve-in-dealing-with-climate-change-3-728PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan, May 7 (PIA) — Is there a need to amend the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan (SEP) or Republic Act 7611? What are its impacts to the local economy, environment, governance and people after 23 years of enforcement?

These are the questions that are being addressed by participants at the ongoing SEP Impacts Workshop organized by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS).

The workshop aims to assess the effectiveness and impact of the law in the light of the many and varying challenges and issues being faced by Palawan today.

Palawan is the only province with its own environmental law befitting a place dubbed as the ‘Last Ecological Frontier’ of the country.

Signed into law on June 19, 1992, the general philosophy is sustainable development through protection, development and conservation of the natural resources towards achieving quality of life of the people and the future generations.

The participants come from the national government agencies, the NGOs, the academe, business sector, people’s organizations, and the local government units.

The roundtable discussions were focused on impacts of SEP in four areas – the local economy, environment, governance/institutions, and people & culture.

Of the many positive impacts elicited, the conservation of the forest and marine resources of the province.  The high level of environmental consciousness among residents were also significantly noted.

The challenges to its implementation continue to be in the governance and interpretation of the law in the municipal levels; mining; management of water resources; food security; energy; and political interferences.

“The law is not perfect. We are here to identify the areas of improvement so that the SEP will continue to be a relevant tool for us to achieve sustainable development in Palawan”, said Atty. Adele Villena, PCSDS Chief of Staff in her Welcome Remarks at the opening of the event yesterday.

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