Six bills seeking to declare Mount Pulag and more ecologically vital locations in the Philippines as protected areas (PAs) have been endorsed for plenary approval in the Senate.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, sponsored on Monday, September 13, the bills seeking to include more sites under the protection of the National Integrated Protected Areas Systems (NIPAS).
“Human activities have a profound impact on all components of the natural environment particularly the effect of increasing population, resource exploitation and industrial advancement,” Villar said.
“Because of this, it is critically important to protect and maintain the natural, biological, and physical diversities of the environment,” she added.
The bills push for the declaration of the following as protected areas:
1. Mount Pulag located in provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya;
2. Banao landscape in Balbalan, Kalinga province;
3. Tirad Pass in Ilocos Sur;
4. Mt. Arayat in the Pampanga;
5. Sicogon Island in Carles, Iloilo; and
6. the Naga-Kabasalan landscape in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Under the NIPAS Act of 1992, 13 sites were declared as protected areas. The law was expanded in 2018 to add 94 more PAs.
“But, the work does not stop there. We need to declare more PAs through legislation to fulfill the state’s constitutional guarantee to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology,” Villar further said.