Known as a comprehensive frame-work for the sustainable development of Palawan compatible with protecting and enhancing the natural resources and endangered environment of the province. It shall serve to guide the local government of Palawan and the government agencies concerned in the formulation and implementation of plans, programs affecting the environment and natural resources of Palawan.
SEP as its general philosophy, the sustainable development of Palawan, which is the improvement in the quality of life of its people in the present and future generations through the use of complementary activities of development and conservation that protect life-support ecosystems and rehabilitate exploited areas to allow upcoming generations to sustain development growth.
It shall have the following features: (1) Ecological viabiltiy which determine the physical and biological cycles that maintain the productivity of natural ecosystems must always be kept intact; (2) Social acceptability which the people themselves, through participatory processes should be fully committed to support sustainability development activities by fostering equity in access to resources and the benefits derived from them; and (3) Integrated approach which allows for a holistic view of problems and issues obtaining in the environmental as well as opportunities for coordination and sharing that will eventually provide the resources and political will to actually implement and sustain SEP activities.
SEP has established a graded system of protection and development control over the whole of Palawan, including its tribal lands, forests, mines, agricultural areas, settlement areas, small islands, mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds and the surrounding sea. which as known as the Environmental Critical Areas Network (ECAN) and shall serve as the main strategy of the SEP.
The ECAN shall ensure the following: (1) Forest conservation and protection through the imposition of a total commercial logging ban in all areas of maximum protection and in such other restricted use zones as the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development as hereinafter created may provide; (2) Protection of watersheds; (3) Preservation of biological diversity; (4) Protection of tribal people and the preservation of their culture; (5) Maintenance of sustainable yield; (6) Protection of the rare and endangered species and their habitat; (7) Provision of areas for environmental and ecological research, education and training; and (8) Provision of areas for tourist and recreation.
The areas covered by ECAN shall be classified into the following (3) main components to further reclassifications and rezoning based on actual surveys or scientific studies and after due consideration of other existing laws similar to or complimentary with the RA 7611 such as RA 7586, otherwise known as “National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.” (1) Terrestrial component which consist of the mountainous as well as ecologically important low hills and lowland areas of the whole province. It may be further subdivided into smaller management components (2) Coastal/marine area which includes the whole coastline up to the open sea. This is characterized by active fisheries and tourism activities; and (3) Tribal ancestral lands which are traditionally occupied by the cultural communities.
Management Scheme and Zonation of terrestrial component may be further subdivided into smaller management components for a more efficient supervision into the following zones:
(1) Area of maximum protection or core Zone which shall be fully and strictly protected and maintained free of human disruption. It includes all type of natural forest to which include first growth forest, residual forest and edges of intact forest, areas above one thousand (1,000) meters elevation, peaks of mountains or other areas with very steep gradients, and endangered habitats and habitats of endangered and rare species. Exceptions, however, may be granted to traditional uses of tribal communities of these areas for minimal and soft impact gathering of forest species for ceremonial and medicinal purposes.
(2) Buffer zone which permits regulated use and may be further subdivided into three (3) sub-zones: a) Restricted use area. Generally surrounds the core zone and provides a protective barrier, limited and nonconsumptive activities may be allowed in this area; b) Controlled use area which encircles and provides the outer barrier to the core and restricted use area. Controlled forest extraction like collecting of minor forest products, and strictly controlled logging and mining may be allowed; and c) Traditional use area. Edges of intact forests where traditional land use is already stabilized or is being carried out with the other supporting programs of the SEP.
(3) Multiple/manipulative use area. This area where the landscape has been modified for different forms of land use such as intentive timber extraction, grazing and pastures, agricultural and infrastructure development. Control and management shall be strictly integrated with other supporting programs of the SEP and other similar programs of the Government.