Press Release
February 8, 2023

Villar seeks more 'Protected Areas' to protect biodiversity

TO remove the Philippines from the list of the world's biodiversity hotspots, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar wants to include more protected areas through legislation.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, said there are still many places in the country experiencing high rates of habitat degradation and biodiversity loss.

In her opening remarks during the Senate hearing on the country's protected areas, Villar lamented that hotspots have lost around 86% of their original habitat.

"Hotspots are also considered to be significantly threatened due to man-made exploitation and by climate change," said Villar.

"Hence, there are still many areas in the country, such as wetlands, marine sanctuaries, tropical forests, watersheds, wildlife sanctuaries, among others, that remain under-protectedand one certain way of affording protection to these areas is by designating them as protected areas through legislation," she added.

The senator noted that adding more protected areas becomes even more urgent and relevant now due to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which runs from 2021 to 2030.

This was declared so that all nations can massively scale up the restoration of destroyed ecosystems.

Due to this, Villar said it is an opportune to discuss the merits of the seven bills on six proposed protected areas.

The following bills are:

-Bill expanding the area of an existing legislated protected area;

-SB No. 354 and SB No. 1259 referring to the Paoay Lake Protected Landscape in Ilocos Norte;

-SB No. 1536 referring to the expansion of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park, a protected area in Las Piñas and Parañaque;

SB No. 1691, which refers to the San Francisco Protected Landscape (commonly known as the Mulanay Watershed Forest Reserve) in Quezon Province;

-SB No. 1725 referring to the Alibijaban Protected Landscape and Seascape also in Quezon Province;

-SB No. 355 referring to the Taklong and Tandog Group of Islands Natural Park in Guimaras; and SB No. 517, which refers to the Bantayan Group of Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape in Cebu.

Villar recalled that during the 17th Congress, she strongly pushed for the passage of RA No. 11038 or the ENIPAS Act of 2018, which strengthened the legal framework for the establishment, management and maintenance of all designated protected areas.

"The Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018 facilitated the legislation of ninety four (94) more protected areas or PAs, in addition to the 13 PAs individually legislated under the original NIPAS law or RA No. 7586," she said.

In the 18th Congress, 7 more areas were declared protected which brought to a total of 114 protected area in the Philippines.


Villar, isinusulong ang karagdagang 'Protected Areas' upang alagaan ang biodiversity

Upang matanggal ang Pilipinas sa hanay ng 'world's biodiversity hotspots,' isinusulong ni Sen. Cynthia A. Villar na gawing 'protected areas' ang mas marami pang lugar sa bansa sa pamamagitan ng legislation.

Sinabi ni Villar, chairperson ng Senate committee on environment and natural resources, na marami pang lugar ang dumaranas ng mataas na 'habitat degradation at biodiversity loss.'

Sa kanyang opening remarks sa Senate hearing tungkol sa protected areas, dismayado si Villar na 86% ng kanilang original habitat ang nawala sa hotspots.

"The hotspots are also considered to be significantly threatened due to man-made exploitation and by climate change," ayon kay Villar

"Hence, there are still many areas in the country, such as wetlands, marine sanctuaries, tropical forests, watersheds, wildlife sanctuaries, among others, that remain under-protected, and one certain way of affording protection to these areas is by designating them as protected areas through legislation," dagdag pa niya.

Iginiit ng senador na mas higit nating kailangan ang karagdagang protected areas dahil sa UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration noong 2021 hanggang 2030.

Idineklara ito upang paigtingin ang pag-ayos sa mga nasirang ecosystems.

Dahil dito, tinukoy ni Villar na mahalagang talakayin ang kanyang pitong bills sa anim na panukalang protected areas.

Ang mga ito ay ang sumusunod:

-Bill expanding the area of an existing legislated protected area;

-SB No. 354 and SB No. 1259 referring to the Paoay Lake Protected Landscape in Ilocos Norte;

-SB No. 1536 referring to the expansion of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park, a protected area in Las Piñas and Parañaque;

SB No. 1691, which refers to the San Francisco Protected Landscape (commonly known as the Mulanay Watershed Forest Reserve) in Quezon Province;

-SB No. 1725 referring to the Alibijaban Protected Landscape and Seascape also in Quezon Province;

-SB No. 355 referring to the Taklong and Tandog Group of Islands Natural Park in Guimaras; and SB No. 517, which refers to the Bantayan Group of Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape in Cebu.

Ipinahayag ni Villar na noong 17th Congress, isinulong niya ang pagsasabatas ng RA No. 11038 o ENIPAS Act of 2018 na nagpapalakas sa legal framework ng establishment, management at maintenance ng lahat na protected areas.

"The Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018 facilitated the legislation of ninety four (94) more protected areas or PAs, in addition to the 13 PAs individually legislated under the original NIPAS law or RA No. 7586," ani Villar.

Noong 18th Congress, 7 pang lugar ang idineklarang protected kaya meron na tayo ngayon 114 protected areas sa buong Pilipinas.

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