3rd District Palawan Rep. Edward Hagedorn honored former environment secretary Dr. Angel Alcala, who died recently, for devolving Puerto Princesa Underground River management to the city government in 1992.
A memorandum of devolution was signed during Alcala’s tenure as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“We grieve the loss of [a] renowned scientist and beloved Dr. Alcala was instrumental in turning over the Underground River management to the LGU of PPC during our term. When we presented him with all the signed waivers in 1992, he was supportive and looked forward to the commencement of preparations for the turnover. Two DENR officials decided to step down out of principle, believing that a local government would never be able to manage the park better than the national government,” Hagedorn said.
Hagedorn emphasized that this landmark decision resulted in numerous accolades and launched the Puerto Princesa tourism industry.
“30 years later, we’ve proven otherwise and received the distinction of being the first national park devolved and successfully managed by a local government unit. It is a model for effective protected area management and sustainable tourism in the Philippines,” he said.
Alcala died on February 1 in Negros Oriental at the age of 93 after 3 days of hospital confinement.
“We will forever remember Dr. Alcala for his trust, remarkable life and unwavering commitment to protecting the environment. Our heartfelt condolences to Dr. Angel Alcala’s family,” Hagedorn remarked.