Biodiversity conservation still among DENR’s priorities in ’14 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 January 2014 12:46

Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said biodiversity conservation through efficient and effective management of the country’s protected areas (PA) will remain as one of the top priorities for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2014.

In a statement, DENR said, Paje, during the unveiling of the National Management Effectiveness and Capacity Assessment (NMECA) report in Pasig City recently,  said the Department  will continue to implement programs like the total log ban, the National Greening Program (NGP) and the new mining policy, which greatly contribute to the protection and preservation of the nation’s floral and faunal species and their habitats.

He said these programs, along with effective PA management, help to reduce biodiversity loss and provides significant contributions to national and global conservation efforts.

The environment chief emphasized the importance of the logging ban and the NGP in improving forest conditions and forest-related biodiversity.

“We can now treat the entire forest cover of this country as a protected area because we have declared a total logging ban in our forests,” he explained, adding that massive reforestation would reduce open, denuded and degraded forestlands.

Paje said that in imposing a new mining policy that seeks to balance development and environmental protection, the government was keen on “getting its true share, so that we can pay for the environmental damages particularly to biodiversity loss caused by mining.”

On top of these continuing programs, Paje said the DENR’s biodiversity team is also undergoing structural reforms to meet the changing needs of the sector.

Paje noted the threefold increase in the 2014 budget of the department’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), formerly the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB), compared to its budget last year.

The bureau is also currently going through manpower rationalization to ensure a more efficient and effective implementation of its programs.

Paje likewise cited last year’s enactment of Republic Act No. 10629, which allows every management board of PAs all over the country to utilize 75 percent of its revenues generated under the Integrated Protected Areas Fund for its operations.

This, he said, would enable the PAMB to improve PA management, such as through installation of better facilities for ecotourism purposes.

The DENR chief said that these reforms are necessary to address the challenges in PA management, while pointing out that managing these areas well and conserving all biodiversity within them are necessary to ensure that people will continue to enjoy the “natural services” that PAs offer like providing raw materials for various human uses and protecting communities from extreme weather disturbances.