Man­talin­ga­han range nom­i­nated for World Her­itage Site sta­tus

Palawan News - - ENVIRONMENT - Re­porter By er­ardo Reyes r.

The Mt. Man­talin­ga­han Pro­tected Land­scape (MMPL) in south­ern Palawan has been nom­i­nated as another World Her­itage Site, a pro­tected area sta­tus con­ferred by the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNESCO). En­vi­ron­ment of­fi­cials said the MMPL is the coun­try’s lone nom­i­nee to the 2020 World Her­itage Site list, as Mayon Vol­cano failed to meet the dead­line for the sub­mis­sion of doc­u­men­tary re­quire­ments. The MMPL is a pro­tected area lo­cated in the south­ern part of Palawan cov­er­ing an area of 120,457 hectares. It is a moun­tain range along the cen­tral spine of moun­tains in south­ern Palawan. The peak reaches about 2,086 me­ters above sea level and con­sid­ered as the high­est in the province. It is within the ter­ri­to­rial ju­ris­dic­tion of five mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in­clud­ing Brooke’s Point, Es­pañola, Bataraza, Que­zon, and Rizal. Felizardo Cay­a­toc, provin­cial en­vi­ron­ment and nat­u­ral re­sources of­fi­cer (PENRO) of De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) told Palawan News they are con­fi­dent that MMPL will be de­clared a World Her­itage Site, a sta­tus sim­i­lar to the Puerto Princesa Un­der­ground River and Tub­bataha Reefs Na­tional Marine Park. “For the Philip­pines, this is our lone en­try and it so hap­pened na dito sa Palawan. Kung madeklara na tayo sa 2020, ito na ang magig­ing pan­gat­long ka­bi­lang sa UNESCO World Her­itage Sites dito sa Palawan,” Cay­a­toc said. He said that as early as 2015, MMPL was al­ready in­cluded in the ini­tial list of 19 nom­i­nees for UNESCO be­cause of its ex­cep­tional bio­di­ver­sity and it will be up for dis­cus­sion at the 44th World Her­itage Com­mit­tee meet­ing in 2020. Re­lated doc­u­ments for the nom­i­na­tions were al­ready submitted to the UNESCO Na­tional Com­mis­sion of the Philip­pines on Septem­ber 27, 2017. It was al­ready trans­mit­ted to UNESCO Head­quar­ters in Paris, France sub­ject for fur­ther re­view since Jan­uary 2018. Mil­dred Suza, pro­tected area su­per­in­ten­dent (PASU) of MMPL said that the pro­tected area was nom­i­nated to UNESCO for its en­demism and ex­cep­tional bio­di­ver­sity. She ex­plained that there are 11 for­est for­ma­tions within the pro­tected land­scapes which is rarely seen in any other parts of the coun­try. She fur­ther said that the in­scrip­tion of MMPL as in­cluded in the UNESCO’s list will re­sult to the in­flux of tourist to the site that will sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­ute to the so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions of the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. “Ang UNESCO ay brand ito. Kung ito na ay ma-de­clare bi­lang isa sa mga World Her­itage Sites ng UNESCO ay dadagsa ang maram­ing tur­ista at ito ay may kaak­i­bat na ma-con­trib­ute sa liveli­hood ng at­ing mga kababayan,” she said. UNESCO is now re­view­ing the nom­i­na­tion, with com­ments trans­mit­ted to their of­fice for their ac­tion, Suza ex­plained. “Sa ngayon ay merong three com­ments na lang na kailan­gang e-com­ply tayo dun sa UNESCO, at sa maps na­man ay may kaunt­ing tech­ni­cal na lang na aayusin,” she fur­ther ex­plained. She said that in choos­ing for UNESCO World Her­itage Sites, there are per­ma­nent del­e­gates from dif­fer­ent coun­tries who will vote from among the nom­i­nees. Suza said that the MMPL’s nom­i­na­tion was en­dorsed by barangays within the pro­tected area, five mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, Se­na­tor Loren Le­garda, three con­gress­men from Palawan, Provin­cial Govern­ment of Palawan, Palawan Coun­cil for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment (PCSD), Con­ser­va­tion In­ter­na­tional and in­dige­nous peo­ple’s (IP) group in the province.

(Photo cour­tesy of ial­­jour­

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