Photo from Edong Magpayo

The city government of Puerto Princesa capped off this year’s celebration of the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival by giving out its 1st Gawad Kalikasan Award.

During the festival’s closing program on Friday, November 11, 15 organizations were recognized with an award for the assistance and support they have extended to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP).

PPSRNP superintendent Elizabeth Maclang underscored the significant contributions of the 15 awardees towards the recovery of the park from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastation of Typhoon Odette.

Among the awardees were Conservation International Philippines Foundation Inc., USAID-Sustainable Interventions For Biodiversity Oceans And Landscapes (SIBOL) , ChildFund Philippines, United Nations and Development Programs (UNDP), Yamang Bukid Farms, Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc., Palaweño Savers Club (PSC), Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc., Grand Palawan Taraw Eagles Club- The Fraternal Order Of Eagles- Philippine Eagles, Overland Palawan, Project Happiness, Center For Conservation Innovations Inc., NCCC Mall Palawan, Ayala Hotels and Resort and Santuario de San Jose Marello Parish- Oblates of St. Joseph.

“Very unique and significant yung mga naitulong nila. Hindi lang simpleng ayuda o lumang damit o pagkain. Very sustainable yung tulong na naibigay nila from livelihood, disaster-proof housing, mental and psychosocial health hanggang spiritual and environmental restoration sobrang laki ng impact ng naitulong nila,” she said.

Maclang stressed that the support that they have received from the awardees who have partnered with the park management over the years has inspired them to pay it forward.

“Beyond words ang pasasalamat namin sa kanila dahil sa nagawa nila sa PPSRNP and sa community. They have given us faith and hope para bumangon out of the goodness of their heart and syempre yung love para sa PPSRNP and gusto naming ibalik yun sa kanila at sa iba pa,” she said.

“Yun naman ang pinaka essense ng Subaraw Festival especially in the new normal kahit hirap sa pondo, na kahit anong mangyari, magpapatuloy ang PPSRNP dahil sa mga taong taos pusong nagmamahal sa parke,” she underscored.