The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Catanauan, Quezon through the Conservation and Development Section conducted four public consultations among the stakeholders of the four (4) study sites covered by Presidential Proclamation No. 2152 within the jurisdiction of CENRO Catanauan, Quezon held on August 11, 15, 16, 22 and 23, 2023.

The four (4) study sites in the said Proclamation were named as the Bacong River to Sandoval Point; Pala Point to Mulanay River; Bondoc River to Pinamutangan Point; and San Andres to Arena Point. These study sites were subjected to a Protected Area Establishment wherein public consultations were conducted.

The general public in each study site has positive views and opinions about its establishment, considering that these will be protected and strictly managed. However, despite its advantages in terms of Protection and Conservation, they are afraid of the possible limitations that may be imposed by the NIPAS Act. Thus, they suggested limiting the area to mangroves, seagrasses, and corals only. The landward part of each study site was suggested not to be included in the shapefile because of the possible conflicts in management once declared as a Protected Area.

Each Public consultation was attended by the concerned stakeholders and citizens of each study site, including the Local Government Units (LGUs) represented by the MENRO, MPDO, Tourism Officer, MAO, and SB Committee on Environment; Brgy. Officials; Peoples Organization or “Samahan ng mga Mangingisda”; and coastal residents of each barangays.

The Presidential Proclamation No. 2152 was signed by the late Ferdinand E. Marcos on December 29, 1981, declaring the entire Palawan and certain parcels of the public domain and/or parts of the country as Mangrove Swamp Forests Reserves subject to future ground survey and delimitation, for conservation and protection purposes by reason of their ecological, scientific, educational and recreational values, including flora and fauna and marine life found therein and other values. It is one of the initial components under the E-NIPAS Act of 2018 which has to undertake public consultation to determine the necessary action relevant to its establishment from the initial component to a protected area. The views and opinions of the general public are crucial in deciding whether to declare the area as a permanent component under E-NIPAS, or not.

Public consultation is a requirement for the establishment of protected areas pursuant to Section 5 (a.2) of the Republic Act No. 7586 as amended by Republic Act 11038 or the E-NIPAS Act of 2018. Under this law, all remaining Initial Components have to undertake Public Consultations three (3) years from the effectivity of the said Act.###