REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7611
AN ACT ADOPTING THE STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN FOR PALAWAN, CREATING THE ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY FOR ITS IMPLEMENTATION, CONVERTING THE PALAWAN INTEGRATED AREA DEVELOPMENT PROJECT OFFICE TO ITS SUPPORT STAFF, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
SECTION 1. Title. — This Act shall be known as the "Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act."
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. — It is hereby declared the policy of the State to protect, develop and conserve its natural resources. Towards this end, it shall assist and support the implementation of plans, programs and projects formulated to preserve and enhance the environment, and at the same time pursue the socioeconomic development goals of the country.
It shall support and promote the sustainable development goals for the provinces through proper conservation, utilization and development of natural resources to provide optimum yields on a continuing basis. With specific reference to forest resources, the State shall pursue and implement forest conservation and protection through the imposition of a total commercial logging ban as hereinafter provided.
It shall also adopt the necessary measures leading to the creation of an institutional machinery including, among others, fiscal and financial programs to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of environmental plans, programs and projects.
It shall also promote and encourage the involvement of all sectors of society and maximize people participation in natural resource management, conservation and protection.
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. — As used in this Act, the following terms are defined as follows:
STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN: ADOPTION, PHILOSOPHY
AND LEGAL EFFECTS
SEC. 4. Strategic Environmental Plan. — A comprehensive framework for the sustainable development of Palawan compatible with protecting and enhancing the natural resources and endangered environment of the province is hereby adopted. Such framework shall be known as the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan, hereinafter referred to as SEP, and shall serve to guide the local government of Palawan and the government agencies concerned in the formulation and implementation of plans, programs and projects affecting said province.
SEC. 5. Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) Philosophy. — The SEP shall have, as its general philosophy, the sustainable development of Palawan, which is the improvement in the quality of life of its people in the present and future generations through the use of complementary activities of development and conservation that protect life-support ecosystems and rehabilitate exploited areas to allow upcoming generations to sustain development growth. It shall have the following features:
SEC. 6. Legal Effects. — The SEP shall serve as the framework to guide the government agencies concerned in the formulation and implementation of plans, programs, and projects affecting the environment and natural resources of Palawan. It shall therefore be incorporated in the Regional Development Plan of Region IV as part of said plan. All local governments in Palawan and the concerned national and regional government agencies operating therein shall coordinate and align their projects and the corresponding budgets with the projects, programs and policies of the SEP, as administered and implemented by an administrative machinery hereinafter created.
SEC. 7. Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN). — The SEP shall establish a graded system of protection and development control over the whole of Palawan, including its tribal lands, forests, mines, agricultural areas, settlement areas, small islands, mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds and the surrounding sea. This shall be known as the Environmentally Critical Areas Network, hereinafter referred to as ECAN, and shall serve as the main strategy of the SEP.
The ECAN shall ensure the following:
SEC. 8. Main Components. — The areas covered by the ECAN shall be classified into three (3) main components:
SEC. 9. Terrestrial Component: Management Scheme and Zonation. — The terrestrial component may be further subdivided into smaller management components for a more efficient supervision. These management components, in turn, shall each be further subdivided into the following zones:
SEC. 10. Coastal/Marine Zone. — A different and simplified scheme of management and zonation shall be applied to this component due to its geographical characteristics, critical nature, and patterns of resource use. Equitable access to the resource and management responsibility by the local community shall be the underlying management philosophy of this component.
SEC. 11. Tribal Ancestral Lands. — These areas, traditionally occupied by cultural minorities, comprise both land and sea areas. These shall be treated in the same graded system of control and prohibition as in the others abovementioned except for stronger emphasis in cultural considerations. The SEP, therefore, shall define a special kind of zonation to fulfill the material and cultural needs of the tribes using consultative processes and cultural mapping of the ancestral lands.
MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES OUTSIDE OF THE ECOLOGICALLY
SEC. 12. Management of Resources Outside of the Ecologically Critical Areas. — The SEP shall provide for the management of resources outside of the ECAN and shall include coastal resources, resources of the catchment areas, timber and mines, development in the lowlands, and settlement areas. It shall also provide for tourism planning.
SEC. 13. Environmental Monitoring and Evaluation System (EMES). — In order to monitor achievement of its goals, the SEP shall establish an Environmental Monitoring and Evaluation System (EMES) which shall ensure a systematic and reliable means of data generation for the various concerns of the SEP. It shall measure changes in environmental status, identify adverse environmental trends and crisis areas, recommend solutions, assess the implementation of the SEP, and suggest measures to make the SEP more responsible to the changing needs.
SEC. 14. Environmental Research. — The SEP shall provide for a system of research so that additional information for accurate planning as well as data to solve new problems in the implementation of the SEP shall be supplied. As such, the SEP's researches shall not be confined to the physical and biological features of the environment, achieved through surveys, monitoring, resources assessments and research into processes, but shall also extend to policies and socioeconomic questions.
SEC. 15. Environmental Education and Extension. — The SEP shall design an environmental information and education designed to gradually wean the people away from destructive practices and shall recommend practical ways as an alternative.
Training programs for the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), business sector representatives, and community leaders shall be organized. This may establish linkages between the NGO's, community leaders, sector representatives and the staff of line agencies' development communication or public information section and, at the same time, be used to plan out a comprehensive public information drive.
Simultaneously, community organizing shall be enhanced to reinforce non-formal approaches, complementing regular environment/science courses in the school.
ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SEP
SEC. 16. Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. — The governance, implementation and policy direction of the Strategic Environmental Plan shall be exercised by the herein created Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), hereinafter referred to as the Council, which shall be under the Office of the President. It shall be composed of the Members of the House of Representatives representing the Province of Palawan, the Deputy Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority, the Undersecretary of Environment and Natural Resources, the Undersecretary for Special Concerns of the Department of Agriculture, the Governor of Palawan, the Mayor of Puerto Princesa City, the President of the Mayor's League of Palawan, the President of the Provincial Chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay, the Executive Director of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff as provided in Section 20 of this Act, and such other members from the public or private sectors as the majority of the Council may deem necessary.
The Council shall elect, from among its members, a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman.
SEC. 17. Quorum. — A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business.
SEC. 18. Compensation. — The members of the Council shall be entitled to per diems and allowances in accordance with existing laws in the performance of their duties and in carrying out the business of the Council. The per diems shall be in the amount of Five hundred pesos (P500) for every meeting: Provided, That the per diems collected do not exceed the equivalent of per diems for four (4) meetings in a month.
SEC. 19. Powers and Functions. — In order to successfully implement the provisions of this Act, the Council is hereby vested with the following powers and functions:
Delegate any or all of its powers and functions to its support staffs, as hereinafter provided, except those which by provisions of law cannot be delegated;
SEC. 20. Conversion of Palawan Integrated Area Development Project Office (PIADPO) to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff . — The Palawan Integrated Area Development Project Office, hereinafter referred to as PIADPO, is hereby converted to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff which shall serve as the regular professional support staff of the Council and shall provide the machinery to coordinate the policy and functions, implement programs, and organize such services as may be required by the Council in the exercise of its functions. It shall be independent of any other department or agency of the Government other than the herein provided Council. All the applicable powers, functions, personnel, complement, staff, appropriations, records, equipment, property, funds, and other assets of the PIADPO, as well as all its obligations and liabilities, are hereby transferred to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff.
The incumbent director of the PIADPO shall be the Executive Director of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff and shall lead all its operations. Thereafter, the Executive Director shall be appointed by the members of the Council. He shall also be ex officio member of the Council.
APPROPRIATIONS AND FINAL PROVISIONS
SEC. 21. Appropriations. — The amount necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act shall be charged to the current fiscal year appropriations of the PIADPO. Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
SEC. 22. Separability Clause. — If any of the provisions of this Act shall be declared unconstitutional, the other provisions of this Act shall remain valid.
SEC. 23. Repealing Clause. — All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SEC. 24. Effectivity Clause. — This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Approved: June 19, 1992