Occidental Mindoro Rep. Sato urges stakeholders to fast-frack approval of E-NIPAS Act IRR

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Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato has asked the various stakeholders to fast-track the drafting the implementing rules and regulation of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System of 2018 (E-NIPAS).

Sato, the principal author of the law, also the concerned agencies should focus on expanding the strict conservation areas and nature reserve using ecological parameters of conservation; review, assess, revise, and regularly update Protected Area management plans, and reconstitute the Protected Area Management Boards (PAMB).

In her speech during the Joint Saranggani Bay Protected Seascape and Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape PAMB En Banc Meeting, Sato said the country is facing problem of dwindling forest cover, the massive degradation of coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems and a serious threat to the country’s endemic and unique species.

Aside from that, the solon said Philippine genetic resources are “exploited and utilized by foreign entities with local communities and the country still having no share from the benefits.”

The forum aims to provide local stakeholders in 94 PAs included in E-NIPAS with a deeper understanding of the provisions of the new law.

“It warms my heart to see you all here today – the members of the legislature, officials of national government agencies, officials of LGUs, our civil society, NGOs, youth, academe, and media. We are all here present and collaborative,” she said.

Under the old law, there were only 13 Protected Areas. The ENIPAS Act added 94 legislated protected areas in the country.

Moreover, Sato said the ENIPAS will increase the annual budget allocations from the national government, from P65 million annually to about P535 million per year, based on current annual average budgetary allocations of P5 million per protected area.

Sato also said that the law gives more “teeth” as it broadens the scope of prohibited acts and provides stiffer fines and longer imprisonment, among others.

“The passage of ENIPAS is, of course, only one among the many milestones we need to win in order to effectively manage our protected areas. While ENIPAS opens the door, creating more institutionalized support for PA management, we must remember that we only would reap the benefits from this policy if, and only if, we implement it effectively.,” she said.