Saving Philippine Forestry: Centre for Sustainability
The inconvenient truth is, the Philippines, once boastful of its lush forestry, now only has 3% of it left. Palawan, on its own, only has 50% left—fortunate, as it was spared from the deforestation tragedies. But even so, the island in itself remains understudied and under-protected that even with a large percentage remaining, it’s forestry is slowly diminishing. The Centre of Sustainability PH aims to aid that.
A youth, female-led, non-profit organization comprising of only 6 team members (volunteers not included) has made it their mission to ensure and sustain development for the terrestrial and marine domain of the country, but more specifically Palawan, using their three main keys: livelihood, conservation, and education.
The group hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2013, their proposal to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development led to the approval of a resolution in 2016, declaring Cleopatra’s Needle or Puyos ni Ibay as Critical Habitat. Puyos is not only the biggest forest coverage in Puerto Princesa, but it also houses many endemic flora and fauna species, the last remaining 200 members of the Batak tribe, and provides water to 30% of the city’s residents.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Jessa Belle Garibay, co-executive director, and co-founder quoted cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead as she received the award on behalf of the Centre of Sustainability, as one of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organization (TAYO) of 2019.