The Inconvenient Realities of Protected Area Management in the Philippines


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Commissioned in 2007 by the Conservation International to design the governance structure for the proposed Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape

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  • Proposal to institute protective mechanisms for MM dates as far back as the 1980s when……
  • While advocates of MMPL is gaining, there are disquieting that threaten to suppress the their initial gains.
  • EO270 was particularly significant because it marked the critical shift of government’s policy from tolerance to promotion of mining.
  • Mt. Mantalingahan was particularly interesting to mining countries for obvious reason. It sits on top of ultramafics serpentized peridotite and dunite. That’s Greek for huge,huge mineral deposits.
  • This map shows the various mining claims within the southern part of Palawan. But apparently, this is only the tip of the iceberg as the next map will show.
  • This map is a confidential document from the DENR which indicate the mining claims.
  • This headline is interesting
  • Now let’s make a glimpse between 1997 and 2001. It doesn’t have to take a 20-20 vision to spot difference, does it?
  • This map shows the overlay of the Celestial MPSA and the CADT application of the Pala’wan of Ma’asin.
  • The Inconvenient Realities of Protected Area Management in the Philippines

    1. 1. The Inconvenient Realities of Protected Area Management in the Philippines The Case of Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape in the Province of Palawan Presented by: Dante A. Dalabajan Presented during the International Conference on Philippine Studies, Philippine Social Science Council, July 23-26, 2008
    2. 2. Author’s disclosure <ul><li>Commissioned in 2007 by the Conservation International to design the governance structure for the proposed Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape </li></ul><ul><li>An environment policy specialist at Environmental Legal Assistance Center, Inc. (ELAC) </li></ul>
    3. 3. Research objectives <ul><li>Characterize Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL) from politico-legal, social, and biophysical standpoints </li></ul><ul><li>Assess how mining impinge on efforts to effectively conserve MMPL </li></ul><ul><li>Identify steps which will lead to effective management of MMPL </li></ul>
    4. 4. Methodology <ul><li>Key informant interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>4 informants from national government agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8 informants from local government units </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7 leaders of indigenous communities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus group discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>4 indigenous communities in Brookes Point and Bataraza </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Documents review </li></ul>
    5. 5. The recent discovery by scientists from Conservation International of a pouch bat, a pin-tail parrot finch, a ground orchid, and a soft-furred mountain rat—all hitherto little known to science—underscore the urgency of conserving the biodiversity of Mt. Mantalingahan Range. Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Erythrura prasina Soft-furred mountain rat Palawanomys furvus Terrestrial orchid Coelogyne sp.
    6. 6. Mt. Mantalingahan, at a glance <ul><li>One of the 10 sites of the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) in the Philippines; </li></ul><ul><li>One of the 11 important bird areas in Palawan; </li></ul><ul><li>One of the 17 terrestrial key biodiversity areas (KBA) in Palawan; </li></ul><ul><li>The largely forested mountain range covers several critical watersheds that are extremely valuable to lowland agricultural economy. </li></ul><ul><li>The large expanse of forest also plays a macro-climatic function by acting as a significant carbon sink. </li></ul>
    7. 8. Mt. Mantalingahan is the highest peak in Palawan at 2086 meters above sea level and the only remaining contiguous forest block in the province. On the eastern side are the Municipalities of Sofronio Espanola, Brooke’s Point and Bataraza; while Rizal and Quezon lie on the western side As of 1998, 64% of the total land area remains under forest cover, 75% is considered to be primary forest, and 25% secondary forest. The total area approved by the PCSD to be covered by the protected area is 126,348 has. covering 36 barangays.
    8. 9. The Pala’wan <ul><li>According to SRPAO, 91.02% of the residents are Pala’wan while the remaining are Ken-uy, a Pala’wan sub-group, (3.03%), Visayan (3.26%) and Cuyunon group with (0.23%). </li></ul><ul><li>The Pala’wan are mostly swidden farmers and foragers. </li></ul>
    9. 10. PA as an effective conservation strategy <ul><li>Bottoms-up, decentralized, inclusive process </li></ul><ul><li>Brings together all stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Binds up all the conservation (ECAN) and tenurial (e.g. CBFM, CADT) strategies into one management plan </li></ul>
    10. 11. Historical context <ul><li>In 1980s, Integrated Environment Program (IEP) of the EU proposed the inclusion of Mantalingahan in the network of national parks. </li></ul><ul><li>The proposal only achieved substantial progress in 1997 when mayors of five (5) municipalities agreed to collaborate in setting the stage for PA establishment. </li></ul>
    11. 12. Preparatory Activities <ul><li>Based on its PASA, the DENR strongly recommended in 2006 the inclusion of Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape in NIPAS. </li></ul><ul><li>Initial boundaries of the proposed protected area delineated indicating the core, restricted use, controlled use, traditional use zones and some multiple-use zones with overlays of the various resource utilization patterns and legal instruments issued. </li></ul>
    12. 13. <ul><li>From April to October 2005, a team composed of DENR, PCSDS, LGU, SPPMC, and CI conducted a battery of public notification activities and community consultations in the 5 municipalities. </li></ul><ul><li>In August 2006, the DENR submitted its Resource Basic Inventory Report, which contained the consolidated ecological surveys. </li></ul><ul><li>The Survey and Registration of Protected Area Occupants (SRPAO) commenced in the early part of 2006 and was completed in June 2007. </li></ul>
    13. 14. <ul><li>The first cut of the Initial Protected Area Plan (IPAP) was issued on October 2006 and was revised in June 2007 after a series of validation sessions; </li></ul><ul><li>By May 2007, all the mandatory public meetings have been conducted. After thorough review of the documents submitted by the SPPC, the PCSD finally approved the proposal to establish the Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape through Resolution No. 07-328. </li></ul><ul><li>In June 2008, the DENR Central Office endorsed to the President the signing of a presidential proclamation. </li></ul>
    14. 15. Some disturbing news <ul><li>MacroAsia to invest P50M in mining exploration , Xinhua Financial News Service, May 23, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>MacroAsia says Palawan mining permits duly acquired, GMA News July 16, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Mining firms rush for nickel in southern Palawan, Philippine Daily Inquirer July 17, 2007 </li></ul>
    15. 16. More disturbing news <ul><li>Plan to declare mountain as protected area faces setback , July 23, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Palawan CBNC’s hydrometallurgical plant biggest mining investment in the country , Palawan Times, March 16, 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Palawan tribes reject attempt to take over their ancestral lands , Manila Bulletin, March 23 2008 </li></ul>
    16. 17. More news <ul><li>Lucio Tan firm seen behind plans vs Mt. Mantalingahan , PDI, April 1, 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Nobody can dictate us how to fight for our ancestral lands,” say Palawan tribesmen , Manila Times, May 13, 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Southern Palawan indigenous people don’t want PAMB to manage ancestral lands , Palawan Times, July 6, 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Mining groups accused of blocking protected area in Palawan , PDI, July 8, 2008 </li></ul>
    17. 18. Why the rush to mining <ul><li>Executive Order No. 270 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>mining as a means for “sustainable development” by promoting best practices and concern for social equity and environmental protection. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Economic potential </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$840B (P47.08 trillion) worth of mineral wealth, 10 times the country’s annual GDP and 15 times our total foreign debt. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>According to projections contained in the government’s Mineral Action Plan or MAP, mining will grow by an average of 13% over the span of 5 years. </li></ul></ul>
    18. 22. December 10, 2007
    19. 23. The sullied history of mining in IP areas <ul><li>Displacement and harassment of B’laan and Subanon tribes in Mindanao </li></ul><ul><li>Benguet was a first class municipality when mining started in 1902. It became a third class municipality during the height of mining operations in the 60’s. It now has become a fifth class municipality. </li></ul><ul><li>Incidence of poverty in in mining affected area is 37% against the national average of 24.7%, according to NCSB </li></ul>
    20. 24. In Palawan….. <ul><li>Bataraza remains a fifth class municipality despite 30 years of mining operation; while Puerto Princesa’s economy flourished after PQMI abandoned its mining operation in 1980s. </li></ul><ul><li>Bataraza has the lowest access to electricity, water, transportation, and education according to RTNMC’s Environmental Impact Statement. </li></ul>
    21. 29. 2001 1987
    22. 30. Environmental safeguards <ul><li>RA 7586 or NIPAS Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ old growth forests”, “proclaimed watershed forest reserves, wilderness areas”, mangrove areas, “mossy forests”, national parks, “provincial/municipal forests”, “greenbelts, game refuge” not open for mining. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RA 7611 or SEP Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>mining is not allowed in areas classified as core zone or areas of maximum protection and in restricted use zone of buffer zone. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RA 8371 or IPRA Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>no project or program, either private or government-run, can be implemented within the indigenous cultural communities unless the affected community grants its free and prior informed consent (FPIC). </li></ul></ul>
    23. 31. In reality….. <ul><li>Mining claims in Southern Palawan cover around 117,831.30 has. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of of these mining claims and applications overlap and/or dangerously traverse near the designated core and restricted use zones. </li></ul><ul><li>Claims of MacroAsia Corporation and Celestial Nickel Mining Corporation are largely situated in “non-allowable areas”. According to PCSD, of 5,140.33 claimed by MacroAsia, only 489 hectares or a meager 10.34% were within the “allowable area. </li></ul>
    24. 34. Key findings <ul><li>The IP’s economic circumstances, takes away their freedom to choose. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where the government fails to provide basic social services, mining companies fill the vacuum in exchange of their consent. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mining and PA can not co-exist in Mt. Mantalingahan for reasons that have to do with law, science, and morality. </li></ul>
    25. 35. Key findings (cont.) <ul><li>Opportunities presented to LGUs (both at the provincial and municipal levels) to exercise their autonomy from national government (e.g. LGC, CLWUP, ECAN). </li></ul><ul><li>Test of PCSD’s will in asserting the primacy of scientific findings over political accommodation (EO 734) </li></ul>
    26. 36. Mayad na adlaw at matamang salamat kanindong tanan.