TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Aug. 7 (PIA) – Five protected areas in the Cagayan Valley Region are recently classified as national parks.
These areas with a total of 225,424.44 hectares are included in Republic Act (RA) 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018 which amended RA 7586 otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.
The new law signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte on June 22, 2018, also declares protected areas under national parks and provides for their management.
The five protected areas in Cagayan Valley that are now included in the list of 94 national parks in the Philippines are: Palaui Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (PIPLS); Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape (PPLS); Tumauini Watershed Natural Park (TWNR); Salinas Natural Monument (SNM); and Casecnan Protected Landscape (CPL).
The PPLS located in the province of Cagayan has the largest area with 118,653.67 ha. The CPL in the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya, and Aurora in Region 3 follows with a total area of 86,246.77 ha; the PIPLS in Cagayan, 8,048.57 ha; TWNP in Isabela, 6,509.38 ha; and the SNM in Nueva Vizcaya, 5,966.05 ha.
Under the ENIPAS Act, the composition of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) is amended to include the DENR regional director, governor, senator, district representative, mayor, barangay chairperson, regional directors of the Department of Agriculture, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Science and Technology, Philippine National Police and Department of National Defense as ex-officio members who shall serve for the duration of their respective term of office. The PAMB is the governing body of a protected area.
The new law provides for the imposition of higher rates of fines from P200,000 to P5 Million; and the stiffer penalty for committing illegal acts enumerated by the law such as imprisonment from one (1) year up to not more than 12 years, and perpetual disqualification from public office for public or government officials.
The Act also creates a protected area management office to be headed by a permanent protected area superintendent with a sufficient number of support staff.
In a special meeting with key personnel of DENR Region 2 on July 30, this year, Lawyer Gil A. Aromin, DENR egional director has ordered the technical staff to orient the PAMB members on the salient provisions of RA 11038.
“The State shall ensure the full implementation of this Act, the mobilization of resources for the institutional mechanisms…and the full scientific and technical support needed for the conservation of biodiversity and the integrity of the ecosystems, culture and indigenous practices,” the expanded protected area law reads. (MDCT/With reports from DENR-2)