Do not let territorial jurisdiction hamper collective efforts to protect the environment.
This was the clarion call of members of the Cebu Provincial Biodiversity Council (CPBC) in their first meeting last March 6, 2018, where they suggested a “holistic approach” to help address environmental issues in the province.
During their meeting, the CPBC highlighted the need for Cebuanos to unite and take action in protecting the environment.
“We should not be bound by city or provincial jurisdictions,” said Architect Socorro Atega, representative of Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water.
The council agreed that local government units and non-government organizations must work hand-in-hand in order to enforce laws accordingly.
The CPBC was formed through an executive order signed by Gov. Hilario P. Davide III in August last year. Davide sits as one of the chairpersons of the said council.
The executive order states that the council should assist the Provincial Government in “overseeing and monitoring” environmental protection programs, and further “mobilize coordinating bodies.”
“We have protected areas that need to be strengthened,” Atega added.
At present, there are nine municipalities in the province that have Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA), namely in Alcoy, Argao, Dalaguete, Alegria, Malabuyoc, Balamban, Catmon, Carmen, and Tuburan.
Environment protection is given utmost importance under Gov. Davide’s six key development agenda.
Present during the meeting were Margaret Anne Mamongan of the Provincial Tourism Office, Lisa Panguntalan of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc., Raymunda Debuayan from the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, William Granert of the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation, Ana Marie Cabigas of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hemres Alburo of the Cebu Technological University-Argao, and Jose Laueso of the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center.
The council will convene again on the last week of this month to draft the Cebu Biodiversity Strategic Plan. Once published, Cebu will be the first province to have a biodiversity strategic plan.