The Palawan State University, in partnership with Tanggol Kalikasan and the US Department of State, launched the Institute of Environmental Governance (IEG) training program at PSU Hostel – September 8, 2016.
The IEG training program is designed using the integrated area approach meaning, the module to be developed and used for the training will showcase content depending on the need of the specific area. The IEG system will deploy a technical working group from the United States, and will provide financial assistance throughout the duration of the program.
The event was participated by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State, Hon. James Walsh; Atty. Asis G. Perez, In-country Representative of the US Department of Interior- International Technical Assistance Program; IEG Director Mr. Thomas Hammang Jr.; Mr. David Williams Jr. from the Law Enforcement Programs Office; Executive Director Atty. Marina Manuel and Madame Juliet Aparichio from Tanggol Kalikasan; Mr. Mario Dacquer from the DILG; Prof. Enrico Mercado, Extension Coordinator of the IEG; Adviser of the Socio- Cultural Affairs Office (SCAO) Atty. Lito Alisuag; Dr. Sonia A. Bonagua as the focal person in PSU for IEG; the different College Deans, Vice President for Research and Extention, Dr. Michael Pido and the OIC President, Dr. Lorna C. Gelito.
According to Atty. Perez, the reason for choosing Palawan to be one of the priority provinces for this program is its huge biodiversity, the need for environmental protection against poachers and violators of fishery laws, and the importance of natural resources of the province.
“Of course, the idea for choosing the IEG partner is normally, first, should be a state college or university, second, you have 27,000 students here, so when we establish the IEG here, we don’t only provide opportunities to train the local officials but the knowledge can also be shared with 27,000 students. So can you imagine the impact of that? With one IEG established in a university, the potential release of information is implemented…” Atty. Perez explains.
The Obstacle Perez also brought up the assurance of proper implementation of the environmental protection laws as the prime challenge that this environmental program faces.
“Yun talaga yung challenge… the problem is the implementation of laws, and we’ve discovered that most of the local government officials, they’re not even aware of the fact that there are environmental laws… So that is the perennial problem, the knowledge is not there…it is always a problem of implementation and that would be a continuing challenge, a continuing problem but right now we have at least a step forward with a solution how to take out that problem, of course una, ‘yong knowledge, pangalawa ‘yong skill ng mga local officials,” says Perez.
As a nationwide initiative, the implementation of IEG still varies on the target environment.
“…the training program is designed, in such a way that, we design it using the integrated area approach, so, kaya ang design dito naka fit sa lugar example, yung design for Palawan, may not be the design for training sa Mt. Province, because they don’t have the same ecosystem. We have to develop a different set of curriculum depending on the area where it is. So, medyo area specific yung design, so that’s one good thing about the IEG System,” Perez furthers.
According to Perez, it is also important that the implementation will be initiated by the locals for the dissemination of information be more effective.
“…we want to use local faculty members . . . resource is based on the local resources and based on local talent, local professors, local faculty members, could be trained and will be teaching the local people, because they know the dialect, they know the culture, they know the way of speaking,” explains Perez.
The first phase of the said program will be covering the 2 year-training of both the teachers and the local government officials and the development of environmental governance curriculum in preparation for its full implementation. – Ana Marie Molleno