On January 22, the United States government launched the second iteration of an environmental justice program that will provide an additional Php28 million ($500,000) in funding to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement organizations to investigate and prosecute environmental crimes in Palawan.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) announced the continuation of the “Environmental Justice Sector and Law Enforcement Support for the Philippines” project with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) in Puerto Princesa City. During the launch, INL turned over three new units of U.S. government-donated Starlink satellite internet terminals that will boost PCSD’s law enforcement capabilities and case management operations.
The continuation of this environmental justice project will enable INL to provide more equipment and capacity building assistance to PCSD and its partners, including technical exchanges between local environmental law enforcement officials and U.S. Forest Service officials, training, support for the prosecution of environmental cases, and the development of training manuals and other guidebooks.
“We convey our deepest gratitude to the U.S. Department of State’s INL. Their continuing partnership, donations, and support have continued to bring outstanding results in our efforts against wildlife trafficking and environmental crimes,” PCSD Executive Director Teodoro Jose Matta said at the launch event.
“This collaboration with the PCSD is a testament to our ongoing dedication to environmental justice,” INL Deputy Director Luke Bruns said. “We believe that through our shared experiences and resources, we can make significant strides in preserving our natural environment for future generations.”
INL’s engagement in addressing environmental justice issues in Palawan began in 2019 through a Php28-million ($500,000) partnership with the U.S. Forest Service that strengthened the institutional capacity of PCSD and its law enforcement partners to effectively combat and prevent environmental crimes. Through this partnership, PCSD was able to reorganize its evidence facility, develop evidence management policies, and improve the proper handling of evidence.
Globally, INL assists partner governments to assess, build, reform, and sustain competent and legitimate criminal justice systems and develop and implement the architecture necessary for cross-border law enforcement cooperation. For more information on the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and its global initiatives, please visit www.state.gov/j/inl.