Board Member Nieves Rosento delivering her privilege speech during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session last Tuesday.

Board Member Nieves C. Rosento is urging municipalities in Palawan to set aside 10,000 hectares of land for rehabilitation in their Annual Investment Plan (AIP) and review the existing Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) of the provincial government to further address deforestation, as reported at the Usapang Palawan Summit.

In her privilege speech during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session on Tuesday, Rosento expressed concern with the PCSDS report stating that almost 60 percent of Palawan’s forests are already destroyed, particularly in areas that were devastated by typhoon Odette in December last year.

Rosento proposed requesting Governor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates to issue an executive order creating a body that will supervise the FLUP and other environmental concerns, which will include the Committee of the Whole of the Provincial Board, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), PCSD, municipal mayors, indigenous peoples groups, and the tourism sector.

She also echoed earlier sentiments raised by Board Member Ryan D. Maminta that the concern was not given enough attention by the environment sector at the summit. Maminta also called for more concrete action, particularly the creation of a special committee that will study and address the problem.

“Kung ating susurin, sa mga presentasyon ng mga environmental groups, hindi nabigyang diin ang pagkakaroon ng 10,000 ektaryang pagtatamnan sa mga munisipyo. Naniniwala ako na hindi nabigyan ng masyadong diin ang usapin na nirerekomenda ng PCSDS,” Rosento said.

“Sana ito ay muling mapag-usapan kasama ang iba’t-ibang CSOs, pamahalaang panlalawigan, DENR, PCSD, na maging bahagi sana ito ng annual investment plan ng bawat munisipyo. At sana maging bahagi rin ng pag-uusap natin na dapat mailahad na yung forest land use plan ng buong probinsya, na nakaakibat na dito ang iba’t-ibang paggamit,” she added.

FLUP review
The legislator proposed to open the discussion of the forest land use plan of the province that will revolve around the classification of lands to be conserved and to be used specifically for agriculture, rehabilitation, and the ancestral domains.

She also emphasized the need for review and reevaluation of the existing FLUP in different municipalities to pave the way for the overhaul of the FLUP of Palawan.

“Nais din natin sanang magkaroon pa ng mas malawakang pag-uusap at pagpaplano para sa forest land use plan kung saan, maari nating ilahad sa usapang ito ang pagkakaroon ng lugar na nais nating ikonserba, mga lugar na dapat gamitin pang-agrikultura, maaring gamiting rehabilitasyon, at mga lugar na maaring ariin ng mga katutubo bilang isang katutubong lupa. Sa mga bagong pangyayari ngayon, dapat ma-review at ma-evaluate itong existing FLUP [ng bawat munisipyo] upang mabuo yung pangmalawakang FLUP ng buong lalawigan. Ito yung magiging daan para sa konserbasyon,” Rosento said.

“Nakikita naman natin na may pangangailangan din para sa turismo, para sa agrikultura, pero base sa presentasyon, malamang lima o sampung taon mula ngayon, wala na ang Palawan bilang last frontier. Nakakapanghinayang ang mga katagang ito na matagal nang pinangangalagaan ng mga Palaweño, isang napakahalagang minana natin,” she lamented.

Mining moratorium
Rosento also called for a review of the existing policies on the mining industry and a moratorium on new applications by mining companies in the province.

“Maari na rin sigurong pag-aralan kung ano ba ang magiging status ng lalawigan pagdating sa pagmimina. Ipasok kung ano ba ang magiging plano ng pamahalaan sa mga bagong nag-a-apply. Marapat lamang na pag-aralan natin ang moratorium para sa pagbubukas ng bagong minahan sa lalawigan ng Palawan,” she said. (with reports 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.