(From left) Provincial legal officer Atty. Jay Bolusa, nvironmentally Critical Area Network (ECAN) Operations Service Director Niño Rey C. Estoya, Palawan Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates, KOICA Philippines Country Director Kim Eunsub, and Prof. Minha Choi of Sungkyunkwan University. | Photo courtesy of Palawan Provincial Information Office

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) has proposed an Environment and Natural Resources Information System (ENRIS) for Palawan in collaboration with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The PCSD and KOICA presented the proposed project on January 10 to Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates and department heads of the provincial government.

“If there is a need to balance the information we get from the project, the legal system and the enforcement, I’d agree with that… and I would like to assure our friends from Korea, that this is the assert of local government. It’s very willing to exercise its political and other prerogatives to meet the project,” Governor Socrates said.

According to PCSD Project Development Officer John Pontillas, the system aims to provide decision-makers with relevant information on effective land-use, environmental protection and conservation, water and food security, and climate change adaptability in accordance with the Environmentally Critical Area Network Strategic Environment Plan (ECAN SEP) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

The project specifically seeks to establish a data and information system on land resources, rational land-use planning and development, land productivity, natural resource management, and regulatory policy development.

This $8.8 million project will be handed over to the provincial government in 2026. The amount will be shared between the Philippines and KOICA.

The system will cover 14,900 square kilometers and have 12 catchments in Taytay, El Nido, Taytay – El Nido, San Vicente, Roxas-San Vicente, Narra, Coron, Brooke’s Point, Puerto Princes City, Sofronio Española, Bataraza-Rizal, and Quezon.

Prof. Minha Choi of Sungkyunkwan University informed the provincial government that they will explore all issues plaguing Palawan in order to generate information that can be used to develop solutions, as well as what will happen once the project is completed.

Once realized, the ENRIS can be accessed by policy makers, businessmen, the academe and the general public.

Members of KOICA are expected to conduct a survey mission in the province until January 20.

The PCSD and the KOICA team was led in the presentation by Environmentally Critical Area Network (ECAN) Operations Service Director Niño Rey C. Estoya and Philippines Country Director Kim Eunsub.

Estoya said ECAN is a SEP law strategy that still lacks a web-based tool to complete the inputs in its mechanization.

“If needed, it is at the level of the council. It is within their authority to issue a specific regulation through a council resolution that is considered as implementing rules and regulation of the mother law which has a legal effect just like with the mother law,” said Estoya. (with a report from Ruil Alabi)

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