Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park: Reactive Monitoring Mission

In early 2014, the World Heritage Centre received reports on the conduct of illegal land titling, logging and wildlife trade in the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) property, as well as complaints of detrimental tourism activities. Concerned that these may negatively affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Puerto Princesa River National Park, the World Heritage Committee sent to conduct a Reactive Monitoring Mission to assess the veracity of the reported complaints or allegations on the Park. In collaboration with the Park Superintendent’s Office, PH NatCom too, submitted a State of Conservation Report for PPSRNP to the World Heritage Committee.

On 30 November-06 December 2014, Ms. Naomi Doak of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) visited Manila and Palawan to conduct this Reactive Monitoring Mission. Accompanied by PH NatCom Culture Commissioner Eric Zerrudo, key sites of the PPSRNP including its jungle trails, forested areas and crystal caves were visited. The Mission also met with the Park’s Protected Area Management Board and nongovernment organizations to clarify the issues raised in the letters/reports sent to the WH Centre. 

At an exit briefing prior to her departure, Ms. Doak shared her initial mission findings with PH NatCom, Park Superintendent Elizabeth Maclang of PPSRNP, Dr. Theresa Mundita-Lim and Ms. Teresita Blastique of DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau, and Atty. Minerva Aldaba Morada and Ms. Carmela A. Pantaleon of Department of Tourism-Region IV-B. Ms. Doak reported that she found no significant or immediate threat to the property; and praised and applauded the noteworthy efforts of the current Park management to sustainably operate and conserve the Park. Ms. Doak also offered several suggestions to minimize the impacts of tourism influx and actively keep the site’s OUV through the development and adoption of infrastructure and activity guidelines for PPSRNP.   

Ms. Doak’s evaluation will be forwarded to IUCN and World Heritage Centre for review. The mission outcome and report will be discussed at the forthcoming 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany on June 2015.