The USAID Protect Wildlife project joined government agencies, partners and environmental stakeholders in celebrating the passage of Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018 during a public event hosted by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Signed into law on June 22, 2018, the ENIPAS Act adds 94 protected areas to the list of national parks, each having its own management board. Clear boundary delineation and demarcation would be advocated to ensure settlements do not expand into protected areas. Another important feature is the clarification of the integrated protected area fund, in which 75% of the revenues are allocated for operational costs, while the remaining 25% for financing projects. Under the new law, special prosecutors appointed by the Department of Justice will handle violation cases since coverage of prohibited acts is now made wider with higher fines and stiffer penalties for violators. Prosecutors will also assist in training wardens and rangers for better enforcement.
The project along with other BMB partners supports the ongoing series of national and regional consultations for refining the implementing rules and regulations of the ENIPAS Act. (PWP/ Samantha Pizarro)