Manila, Philippines – In June, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018, after BIOFIN Philippines worked tirelessly with Congresswoman Josephine Ramirez-Sato to craft this new piece of legislation that would mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation in the country.
The ENIPAS Act declares 94 new national parks as protected areas. These protected areas are now under the management of the national government, ensuring a regular annual budget for its conservation. The Act allows collection of funds from environmental compliance certificates (ECC) and special use permits from industries operating within these protected areas, and imposes stricter fines for violators.
These funds go straight to a trust fund called the Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF), which is then channeled back to conservation projects.
The new law is an amendment to the National Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, which declared the protection of 13 areas. These 13 protected areas (PAs) received regular government funding unlike those PAs covered by presidential proclamations or executive orders that were considered only as initial components and thus, could be disestablished perfunctorily.
The reformed PA law increases the number of protected areas to 107 and strengthens the status of these protected areas through improved structures and mechanisms.
The value and benefits derived from biodiversity
The economic value of ecosystem services in the Philippines is estimated at Php2.3 trillion (USD46 billion). These services come in the form of timber and fuelwood production, water provision, ecotourism, carbon sequestration, flood prevention, and fishery production, among others.
For example, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries are among the biggest industries generating substantial revenues from genetic resources. Global sales of pharmaceuticals derived from genetic resources range from $75 billion to $150 billion. The net present value from bioprospecting of Philippines’ endemic species in closed canopy forests per annum in perpetuity amounts to USD$39.8 million.
Despite the many benefits we get from our natural wealth, our biodiversity is in severe decline. It also receives the least priority in terms of government budgeting.
Support to other policies
Good policy is essential for conservation, to ensure sustainable management and uninterrupted provision of benefits from ecosystem services.
BIOFIN is continuously providing support to the passage of House Bill 2163 or the Philippine Genetic Resources and Access and Benefit Sharing (PGRABS) Bill which supports: a) funding for relevant government agencies; b) wealth generation through the use of biodiversity resources; and c) strengthening of rules and regulations on access to Philippine genetic resources and the indigenous knowledge systems and practices for equal sharing of benefits. Filed in 2016, the PGRABS Bill is up for a second Committee hearing for members to debate the bill and ensure its passage into law.
Another bill supported by BIOFIN is a bold proposal to allocate a portion of the country’s Malampaya Fund – a Php 193 billion (USD 3.6 billion) earmarked fund from oil and gas revenues – towards conservation purposes. The Malampaya Fund Bill was filed at the end of 2016, was subjected to a hearing eight months later by the House Committee on Energy, and in the process earned the support of the Committee Chair, who might facilitate its passing into a law.
BIOFIN contributes to closing the financing gap for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity by identifying, accessing, combining and sequencing sources of biodiversity funding to finance the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), the country’s roadmap to conserving its biodiversity. The PBSAP implementation will cost PhP24B/year or PhP334B (USD7.4B low estimate) from 2015-2028.
However, public expenditure was estimated at only P4.9B/year (USD110M) thus a gap of almost PhP19B (USD349M) annually was determined. Several finance solutions to address the gap were identified and are being piloted by BIOFIN at present. (BIOFIN/ Angelique Ogena)