Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron lead the oathtaking ceremony of newly appointed members of the Puerto Princesa City Council for Sustainable Development during their first regular council meeting at the conference room of the New Green City Hall on October 20.

The newly created Puerto Princesa City Council for Sustainable Development (PPCSD) has denied the request of barangay councils to purchase and own chainsaws that they can use and operate in times of calamities and other similar events.

Conducting its first regular meeting on Thursday, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) spokesperson Jovic Fabello said one the pressing issues the council tackled is the request of barangays for a proposed coordination framework for the purchase, custody and use of chainsaw for disaster risk reduction and management activities of barangays LGUs in the city.

He said the request stemmed from the effects of typhoon Odette where most of the affected barangays needed to clear roads from debris of trees felled by the typhoon.

“Basically, after Odette, maraming barangay council ang nag-request sa PCSD na makabili at magkaroon ng ownership ng chainsaw,” Fabello said.

“Ang naging decision ng council ay hindi papayagan na ang barangay mismo ang magkaroon ng ownerhip ng chainsaw. So the same decision yan with the PCSD na hindi talaga bibigyan ng chainsaw yung barangay kasi nga nagagamit sa illegal,” he added.

What the barangay can do instead is to coordinate with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) which is the agency that is allowed to own a chainsaw.

“So ang mangyayari, kung gusto ng barangay na magkaroon ng chainsaw unit, ang mag-a-apply ay yung CDRRMO. So doon din ang repository ng unit. Sila ang magre-register sa PPCSD kasi sila lang naman talaga ang allowed na mag-responde sa mga disasters. Magkaroon na lang sila ng memorandum of agreement, like halimbawa kung saan manggagaling ang pondo, syempre sa barangay. Pero i-reregister in the name ng CDRRMO which will also be the repository,” Fabello explained.

Meanwhile, the council also approved the proposal of the City Mining and Regulatory Board (CMRB) to automatically approve the application for renewal of permits of quarry operators for industrial, commercial sand and gravel permits for 2022 in areas affected by typhoon Odette in the City of Puerto Princesa.

The CMRB proposal was also based on its recommendation to conduct dredging and rehabilitation of rivers also affected by Odette.

“Yung recommendation ng CMRB ay magkaroon ng river rehabilitation kasi nga noong bagyong Odette ay tumambak na doon sa mga ilog yung mga graba, at iba pang mga aggregates na pwedeng makasira sa mga structures like tulay at sa mga embankment,” he said.

“Naglabas ang CMRB ng listahan ng mga proponents na instead na mag-apply pa sa PCSD ulit ng renewal ng kanilang sand and gravel permit ay automatic na sa city, renewed agad sila. So inaprubahan ito ng council, out of 17 na binigay na listahan, 16 ang naaprubahan. Yung isa, hindi na-approve kasi wala talaga siyang permit ever since,” he said, explaining further that the permittees still need to comply with the requirements they need to submit before the council within one month.

Fabello also mentioned other topics in the agenda like the updating of the city’s Environmentally Critical Area Network (ECAN) map and the presentation of Administrative Order no. 6 or the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance system and other projects for council’s actions were deferred and will be tackled in the next council meeting.

The next meeting is scheduled on November 10 but ang sabi ni chairman, we will meet as needed. So, for now, the PPCSD will convene when the chairman calls for a meeting, aside from the regular meeting.

The PPCSD was created by virtue of a resolution adopted by the PCSD during its September 8 regular meeting.

The council was a product of a series of consultation meetings between Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron and PCSDS Executive Director Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta where Bayron sought for the creation of a separate council that will focus on related concerns only specific to the city.

Its membership will be composed of Bayron who was elected as chairman during their meeting, Vice Mayor Ma. Nancy M. Socrates, Masigla Punong Barangay Andres Baaco representing the Association of Barangay Captains, National Economic Development Authority, represented by Regional Director Agustin Mendoza, Western Command represented by Deputy Commander Col. Rey Bes, and Councilor Jimmy L. Carbonell. Also present during the first regular meeting was acting PCSDS Executive Director Niño Estoya.

Also during their first regular meeting, the nomination for membership from Non-Government Organizations (NGO) and the business sector was opened. Fabello said each sector can submit up to three nominees from which the council will select the members.