USTGS-CCCPET collaborates with NCCA-PCEP, City Government of Puerto Princesa

The University of Santo Tomas Graduate School – Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (USTGS-CCCPET), in collaboration with National Commission for Culture and the Arts – Philippine Cultural Education Program (NCCA-PCEP) and the City Government of Puerto Princesa held the National Training on Bio-Cultural Governance: Strategy, Responsibility and Sustainability in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan last November 13-14, 2023. This is an adjunct activity of Subaraw Biodiversity Festival of Puerto Princesa City and it is also supported by the USAID-SIBOL Project and RTI International.

The national training aims to document the bio-cultural programs and projects of LGUs with UNESCO sites under the World Heritage, Man and Bioshphere, and Geoparks programs, to build awareness and enhance appreciation of nature-culture linkage towards development strategy, to introduce bio-cultural governance as the basis for responsible tourism, cultural education, cultural industries, and environment activism. The bio-cultural governance is an iteration of culture-based governance training.

The plenary video message of Sen. Loren Legarda jumpstarts the whole day lecture from renowned speakers followed by ASEAN Center for Biodiversity Senior Director and noted biologist Dr. Arvin C. Diesmos and UST Graduate School faculty member shared key-takeaways with regards to biodiversity research and science.

On the other hand, Atty. Nicolas Pichay, the Director for Legislative Library Services at the Philippine Senate discussed Nature and Culture Linkage: Laws and Jurisprudence. He explained the concepts of natural and cultural heritage and cases related to heritage sites. Ms. Zorina Arellano, the Puerto Princesa City ENRO Senior Environment Specialist presented the city’s environmental problems, its resolutions, and different programs. Meanwhile, Park Superintedent Angelique Songco of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park discussed the park’s protective measure and management. Geologist, Karl Michael Din of Bohol Island UNESCO Global Geopark explained the concept of geopark and its goal.

The second day of the conference presented two case studies from Samar and Palawan. Ms. Maria Victoria Punay, a Lecturer of UST Graduate School Cultural Heritage Program and Associate Researcher of CCCPET, presented the Governance: Aspirations and Struggles for World Heritage Nomination of Samar Island Natural Park. Meanwhile, Atty. Mary Jane Feliciano, Vice Mayor of Brooke’s Point, Palawan where Mount Mantaliingahan Protected Landscape is located. She shared the conservation management and the issues and threats they face.

The national training is attended by local government workers, newly elected barangay officials from Palawan and environmental science students from Palawan State University.

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