Thursday,March 28, 2019

Cave Management

Pursuant to Republic Act 9072 or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shall be the lead agency tasked to implement the provisions of the Act in accordance with the Department of Tourism, National Museum, National Historical Commission of the Philippines and concerned Local Government Units for specific caves, except in the Province of Palawan, where the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) shall be the implementing agency.

Mandated by Republic Act 9072, the DENR thru the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), has also developed the Cave Management, Conservation and Protection (CMCP) Program, and created the multi-agency National Cave Committee (NCC) and Regional Cave Committees (RCCs)  for the management, protection and conservation of caves and cave resources.

The National Cave Committee (NCC) – is the implementing body of the Cave Management, Protection and Conservation Program under Section 11 of the Implementing Rules and Regulation of the RA 9072 (DENR Administrative Order No 2003-29).

National Cave Committee composition:

Chairperson – Biodiversity Management Bureau

Members:

  1. Mines and Geosciences Bureau
  2. National Museum of the Philippines
  3. National Historical Commission of the Philippines
  4. Office of the Tourism Standards and Regulation, Department of Tourism
  5. Palawan Council for Sustainable Development
  6. Department of Interior and Local Government
  7. Bureau of Local Government Development
  8. Bureau of Local Government Supervision
  9. Local Government Units
  10. League of Provinces of the Philippines
  11. League of Cities of the Philippines
  12. League of Municipalities of the Philippines
  13. UP-National Institute of Geological Sciences
  14. Gaia Exploration Club
  15. Filipino Cave Divers

Regional Cave Committee Composition:

Chair – Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services

Co-Chair – Regional Director, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)

Members: 

  • Local Coordinating Agencies/Offices
  • Academe
  • Non-Government Organization (NGOs)

Cave Classification:

Classification entails the identification, surveying, mapping, and assessment (bio-physical, socio-economic, and cultural) of a cave. Required under RA 9072, it serves as the basis for determining the appropriate use and management of a cave and its resources.

After cave classification is the participatory preparation and partnership implementation of a five-year management plan for each cave. Partnerships may involve DENR with interested groups like the LGUs, peoples organizations (PO),and/or landowners.

Class I : Caves with delicate and fragile geological formations, threatened species, archaeological and paleontological values, and extremely hazardous conditions.
Allowable use may include mapping,photography, educational and scientific purposes.

Class II : Caves with areas or portions that have hazardous conditions and contain sensitive geological, biological,archaeological, cultural, historical values, or high quality ecosystem.
It may be necessary to close sections of these caves seasonally or permanently. It is only open to experienced cavers or guided educational tours/visits.

Class III : Caves generally safe to inexperienced visitors, with no known threatened species, archaeological, geological, cultural and historical values. These caves can also be utilized for economic purposes such as guano extraction and edible birds nest collection.

Cave conservation and protection pertains to preserving and protecting the vital ecological processes that caves possess, maintain and support. Among the key issues and concerns in the conservation and protection of Philippine caves are the lack of specific statutory protection, increased demand for recreational sites, treasure hunting, mining, pollution, illegal collection of cave resources, rapid urbanization, and the impacts of climate change.