Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff executive director Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta took an exemption from criticisms recently made by civil society groups about the performance of the Council in implementing RA 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) law.

Matta objected to the Save Palawan Movement’s (SPM) claim that the SEP law “has been rendered inutile”, stating that the body has done numerous initiatives that the group did not take into account.

“Obviously ay hindi nila alam ang trabaho namin at hindi nila alam ang mga ginawa namin over sa mga nakaraang dekada. Bago pa man ako nakapasok ng PCSD ay alam ko na ang mga programa ng PCSD. Remember that Palawan is not only for conservation it is mainly for Palaweños. Para sa ating mga kababayan ito and ang kapakanan ng mamamayan ang nasa puso ng SEP Law,” Matta said.

“Ang daming developmental programs from fisheries, agriculture, wildlife protection at education na naidulot ng PCSD. Alamin lang nila, if they can engage us we can educate them on what we have done, what we have been doing, and what we will do,” he added.

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Matta said criticisms coming from SPM and other groups are welcome but encouraged those groups to “fact check” their information.

“Nakakabuti po yan. Maybe yong ibang statements nila ay puwede nilang i-fact check,” he said.

Matta in particular denied SPM’s allegation that the PCSD is favoring mining projects.

“Wala tayong kinikilingan as far as the core zone is concerned. Kasi kung core zones ‘yan at mining ‘yan o hindi ay hindi namin ‘yan pinapayagan. Mining is only .07 percent o wala pang buong landmass ng Palawan that is dedicated to mining. At hindi pa ‘yan lahat mining dahil mayroong mga building, may mga storage area at hindi ‘yan extractive lahat,” he said.

“Hindi naman ibig sabihin na careless na tayo [dahil] ang binibintang sa atin, remember there is DENR maraming check and balances kaya when mining company operates the decision is multilevel,” he added. (With a report from Gerald Ticke)

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.