Pass the E-NIPAS Bill now!
1. The Philippines is one of the 18 megadiverse countries in the world, a region which, when combined, contains 2/3 of the earth’s biodiversity and about 70-80% of the world’s plant and animal species. On a per unit area basis, the Philippines harbors more diversity of life than any other country on the planet.
2. The country hosts more than 52,177 described species, most of which are found only in the Philippines.As one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, we rank fifth in the number of plant species, fourth in bird endemism, fifth in mammal endemism, and host five percent of the world's flora. In terms of numbers, the Philippines has:
- 9,253 plant species
- 167 species of mammals
- 535 types of birds
- 237 types of reptiles
- 89 species of amphibians
- 281 types of freshwater fishes.
3.To ensure the protection of our unique biodiversity, the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act was enacted in 1992 to provide for the integration of areas into a protected area system.
- Of our total land area of 30 million hectares, 4.07 million hectares or 13.7% of are under terrestrial protected areas.
- Of our 220 million hectares of water area, 1.37 million hectares or 0.63% are covered by marine protected areas.
4. At present, there are 113 proclaimed Protected Areas (PAs) in the country, which include the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, both World Heritage Sites located in Palawan; the Chocolate Hills Natural Monument in Bohol; Taal Volcano Protected Landscape in Batangas; and the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Mindanao’s Agusan Basin.
What is the E-NIPAS and what will it do for the existing NIPAS Law?
- The Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas (NIPAS) Act of 2015 proposes amendments to the 23-year old NIPAS Act to integrate practical measures to strengthen the implementation of our country's law on protected areas. The bill widens the coverage of protected areas, adding 96 more PAs the existing 13 legislated national parks.
- National legislation is the highest form of protection for an area in the country. Through this law, each PA’s boundaries would be described and cannot be modified except through an act of Congress. The law ensures a budget for the areas and gives them permanent protection. Without the law, these protected areas remain vulnerable to exploitation such as mining and other human induced activities.
What’s stopping the approval of E-NIPAS in the House of Representatives?
- The Senate version of the E-NIPAS bill was approved last July 2015, while the House bill is still awaiting approval in the House Committee of Rules. Both Senate and House versions of the bill must be approved to proceed to bicameral review before the 16th Congress ends.
- While half a year has passed since the Senate approved the bill, some members of the House of Representatives have blocked the passage of the House version; accommodating interests from mining and other exploitative industries.
- We should pass the E-NIPAS law so that our Protected Areas (PAs) can get the full benefit of the protection under the law! The law will enhance conservation efforts of our unique and threatened species of plants and animals and their habitat.
What’s at stake?
- The House approval is the last stumbling block for the expanded protection of our protected areas. In the interest of accommodating a few, all protected areas which stand to be strengthened by the new law are now in grave danger. The Committee on Rules must show their independence from the influence of certain interests and they must not hold the rest of the country’s protected areas hostage!
- If the bill is not passed now, all the efforts put together by our environment agencies, advocates, and local community partners will be put in vain. We’ll go back to square one.
PASS THE E-NIPAS BILL NOW!
- Pass the E-NIPAS Bill now! Because our protected areas deserve the highest protection to preserve the ecological integrity of our national treasures.
- Time is of the essence. With the 16th Congress ending in March, our Congress needs to act fast or else all our efforts for the expanded bill will go down the drain. We cannot afford to lose any more time.
What you can do about it:
- Push the Congress to pass the E-NIPAS bill (write to your congressmen or include in the attached email addresses of the members of Congress.)
- Sign this petition!
- Spread the word
We should not let personal interests hold our protected areas hostage. Be informed. Take action.
Sign and share.
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