Where We Work
• Kubo • Nipa Hut
We all know Palawan as the ideal summer getaway – the white sand beaches, tourist hotspots, hotels and resorts – but Palawan is so much more than that. It is an archipelago that stretches from Mindoro to Borneo and is known as the Philippines’ “last ecological frontier” due to its high levels of biodiversity, an abundance of natural resources, extensive flora and fauna, and vast expanses of mangroves.
Land-based Pollution and Inadequate Waste Disposal
With the increasing tourism activities in the coastal areas of Palawan, structures and buildings, such as hotels and restaurants, are also increasing in number along the beach areas. When left unregulated, the wastewater generated from these business establishments could drain directly or seep to the sea.
The clearing of forest for agriculture purposes and the conversion of timberland to give way to housing and residential areas due to the increasing affluence of some members of the community is another challenge.
Forestry and Illegal Logging Issues
The annual rate of Palawan’s forest loss at 5,500 hectares per year for the period 1992- 2010 is lower than the 1979 to 1984 deforestation rate at 19,000 hectares per year. This is due to the ban on commercial logging embodied in the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Law.
However, its mangrove forests is faced with continuous threats caused by human activities in the coastal communities. The “open access” to mangrove forests results to continuous cutting of mangrove trees for construction of houses, as well as firewood and charcoal.
Ores and Mineral Extraction
Mineral resources are richly deposited in Palawan’s high mountains with significant deposits of nickel, chromium, iron ore, and limestone. However, land degradation is considered to be an unavoidable by-product of mining activities. The damage could reach alarming proportions if not regulated properly. Open pit mining in areas with forest cover causes deforestation and soil erosion as well.
Palawan has abundant natural resources such that its environment promotes mutual dependence between people and nature. Amidst the challenges, we have to continuously address socio-economic and environmental issues and build on from our gains and learnings from more than two decades of implementing the SEP Law. The Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan (thru Republic Act No. 7611) was established “to improve the living conditions of the people of Palawan and to increase the economic contribution that Palawan can make to the Republic of the Philippines by developing its resources and land and water in ways that are environmentally sustainable, socially equitable and economically practicable.”
In support of the SEP Law, we have also allocated Php 82M to provide grants to protect the forests of Palawan.