The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is urging the municipal government of Balabac to adopt its approved 10-year conservation strategy for the Indo-Pacific crocodiles.
The crocodile conservation strategy is stipulated under PCSD Resolution No. 20-710 which was approved on February 27, 2020, according to Council spokesperson Jovic Fabello.
He said it is generally aimed at ending the conflict in Balabac between man and crocodiles and to prevent habitat destruction, minimize hunting, poaching, collection and trading of Crocodylus porosus, and stepping up public awareness about crocodiles.
“Kung ia-adopt ni local government unit (LGU) ito, at least magiging katulong natin sila sa conservation and management ng mga crocodile sa area, lalong-lalo na sa ating community. Mapapangalagaan natin ang mga buwaya at kailangan malaman ng bawat concerned agencies ang mga iba’t-ibang responsibility nila para dito,” Fabello said Tuesday in an interview with Palawan News.
On November 23, the PCSD Environmental and Natural Resources Committee invited to a meeting representatives from the provincial office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Crocodylus Porosus Philippines, Inc. (CPPI), Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (Crocodile Farm), Balabac officials, and members of the sub-committee on crocodile conservation to present to them the crocodile conservation strategies and apprise them on what their responsibilities will be.
The vision under the conservation plan is to make man and crocodile live in harmony in Balabac by 2029, reduce habitat destruction by 90 percent, increase public knowledge significantly, and improve the socio-economic status of communities in the municipality by 80 percent.
These will be done through short-term and long-term actions such as strict law enforcement against mangrove destruction and the establishment of communal mangrove forests for housing and fueling purposes, conduct of information campaigns, stringent enforcement of laws related to illegal crocodile activities, creation of local task group, and the establishment of eco-friendly crocodile watching areas.
“Mahalagang malaman nila ang kanilang mga role dito upang mas madali ang action natin, katulad halimbawa kung nagkaroon ng crocodile attack sa area. Sino ba dapat ang mag-rescue o kung may nakakitang lokal na residents, ano ang dapat nilang gagawin at ano ang dapat gawin sa mga lugar na talagang nandiyan naninirahan ang mga buwaya,” Fabello said.
Fabello said that in their meeting, the DILG in the province gave an assurance that it will visit Balabac and communicate with its officials to present the 10-year strategy and to convince them to support it.
He said there will be another meeting to present it to the Sangguniang Bayan to encourage municipal councilors to support and adopt the PCSD resolution.
“Tayo naman sa PCSD simula noon ay tuloy-tuloy ang ating mga information and education campaign sa Balabac regarding sa mga paalala natin sa community, ano ang mga pag-iingat na dapat gawin ng mga residente,” Fabello added.
Meanwhile, Rainier Manalo of CPPI said also Tuesday that if adopted, the approved measure of the PCSD can help manage the relationship between the residents and the crocodiles that are part of the environment.
He said there is a need too for residents to be aware of crocodile behavior so attacks can be avoided.
“Kailangan talagang magkaroon pa ng karagdagang mga knowledge ang community dyan, common kasing nangyayari kapag nakakita ng buwaya ang tao, takot agad at kailangan patayin ngunit the real purpose is part pa rin sila ng environment natin,” Manalo said.