PROTECTED AREA DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT
This Program covers the main in-situ measures to conserve biodiversity within and adjacent to protected areas pursuant to Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrate Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 as amended by Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS (ENIPAS) Act f 2018. The passage also led to the legislation of additional 94 Protected Areas, making a total of 244 Protected Areas composed of about 7.8M hectares (107 legislated; 13 proclaimed; 124 remaining initial components). It will ensure that the current NIPAS and ENIPAS coverage is rationalized by maintaining and prioritizing those with high biodiversity values while providing appropriate governance regime for the protection of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) such as through Local Conservation Areas (LCAs) with the LGU concerned and through Indigenous Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs).
To ensure continuity of the full stream of goods and ecological services from the aforementioned conservation areas, sustain habitat interconnectivity and wildlife corridors and improve resiliency of ecosystems in the face of climate change, the program will put premium on protection of natural habitats. Degraded areas shall also be restored/rehabilitated with due regard to their ecological requirements.
The Program also prescribes a comprehensive set of activities designed to ensure sustainable management of protected areas, to wit:
- Creation of PA Management Office (PAMO) to be headed by a PA Superintendent (PASu) and sufficient number of support staff;
- Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) Operationalization;
- Preparation/Updating, Implementation, and Mainstreaming of PA Management Plans into local plans;
- PA Boundary Delineation and Demarcation;
- Development of climate-resilient PA facilities and infrastructures;
- Survey of PA occupants;
- Biological and Socioeconomic Assessment and Monitoring; and,
- Development of innovative funding sources/mechanisms e.g. ecotourism, Special Use Agreement within PAs (SAPA), Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF), Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), etc.
Under this Program is the Ecotourism Development Program. Under the National Ecotourism Strategy adopted by the DOT and DENR Secretaries, the DENR’s role in ecotourism development is consistent with its mandate on resource management and protection. Since our protected areas provide the natural resource base for ecotourism development, it is necessary to provide the basic facilities and equipment that will cater not only the needs of the visitors but also needed to strengthen resource protection and minimize impact of visitor activities to the protected area.
The management and protection of other ecosystems including Inland Wetlands, Caves and Cave Resources, and associated ecosystems also form part of this program pursuant to RA 9072 or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management Act, and the Updated National Wetlands Action Plan for the Philippines.