Cleopatra's Needle, the morning mist, and the sea of clouds. (Photo by Celeste Anna R. Formoso)

The Palawan-based Centre for Sustainability PH, Inc. (CSPH), has been named as one of the awardees of the “2019 Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO)” of the Philippines.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” Jessa Belle Garibay, CSPH co-executive director and co-founder, quoted cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead.

The organization received a trophy sculpted by Tomy De Leon Imao and a cash grant of P50,000.

Perci Cendana, the TAYO Awards Foundation Inc. president, said that CSPH pursued its advocacy that resulted in the declaration of Cleopatra’s Needle in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, as a “critical habitat” area.

“This only proved that strength is not about the number or quantity of members, it is in the depths of their commitment and love for doing,” Cendana said.

The awards ceremony was held at the GSIS Theater in Pasay City on January 23.

 CSPH is a youth and women-led organization with only six staff members and worked mostly with volunteers.

CSPH was chosen as one of the 10 awardees among 300 youth organizations nationwide.

The search was conducted among recognized youth organizations in the country with programs and projects that help their communities.

CSPH continuously works on sustainable development in Palawan with the goal to “contribute to the establishment of terrestrial and marine protected areas with an integrated approach incorporating three key areas such as livelihood, education, and conservation.”

 CSPH’s proposal to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) in 2013 led to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development’s (PCSD) approval of a resolution in 2016 declaring Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle as critical habitat.

The declaration was anchored on Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

CNCH is a 40, 000-hectare mountain area located in the northern part of Puerto Princesa City, near the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP).

CNCH is not only the highest mountain in Puerto Princesa City with the largest watershed but also a home to countless endemic flora and fauna and the last remaining 200 members of the Batak tribe, an endangered major ethnic group in the province of Palawan.

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