Before proper rehabilitation and restoration of SIBOL sites in the country can take place, appropriate ‘green assessments’ activities need to happen first. And no place is more fitting to kick off this massive undertaking than in Puerto Princesa, Palawan which houses the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) and Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve.

The opening ceremony for the High Conservation Value Areas Assessment was formally launched last March 11 at the Sabang Wharf in Barangay Cabayugan, where PPSNP park rangers and Protected Areas Management Office (PAMO) representatives joined CCIPH and SIBOL staff for the historic occasion.

The assessment is being led by various agencies such as DENR PENRO, DENR CENRO Roxas, DENR CENRO Puerto Princesa, PCSD, MENRO Roxas, MPDC Roxas, MENRO San Vicente, Puerto Princesa City ENRO, Puerto Princesa City DRMMO, LGU Dumaran, LGU Araceli, and PPSRNP. With the integral support of CCIPH and SIBOL, our collective and concerted effort means the recovery of biodiversity and ecosystems is all but guaranteed.

The ‘green assessments towards a green recovery/reconstruction and resilience’ will provide the basis for recommendations to strengthen reconstruction efforts and reduce risks from future potential disasters of coastal IP communities in the area which are always at the mercy of destructive typhoons. The assessments will have four main activities including Comprehensive Appraisal, HCVA, Study of Land Use Change, and Drone Mapping.

Before the launch proper, a series of workshops on remote sensing training, methods calibration and planning and internal review – which are all part of the ‘green assessments framework’ – were conducted starting March 7.