THE House of Representatives’ committee on appropriations has recommended for plenary action a bill that seeks to create an improved law for the protection and preservation of the country’s diverse flora and fauna.
This came after the committee, chaired by Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, approved the funding provisions of the unnumbered substitute bill with the working title, “Ensuring The Preservation and Management of Protected Areas.”
The measure is a consolidation of House Bills 177 filed by Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato and HB 133 filed by AKO-Bicol Party-list group led by Rep. Alfredo Garbin.
Nograles said both bills advocate the rich biodiversity in the Philippines as well as the need to protect such biodiversity.
“We can achieve this through the establishment of a comprehensive system of integrated protected areas within the classification of a national park as provided for in the Constitution,” Nograles said.
The proposed statute for all intents and purposes aims to improve Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.
“While NIPAS has served its purpose to some degree, there remains dozens of locations in the country that have to be officially proclaimed as protected areas so that they may be accorded the necessary governmental efforts toward preservation,” Nograles said.
“These areas are teeming with beautiful and unique native species that, once gone, will never be seen again except on the Internet or in books. If that happens, then it only means we have failed in our task to be God’s steward for these life forms,” he added.
The proposed measure identifies around 100 areas that should be established as protected areas with land or water classification of a national park.
These locations will add to those that have been previously declared as protected areas through Congressional action.
The Philippines, which has a population of over 100 million, is said to be one of only 17 “megadiverse” countries in the world.
It hosts 70 to 80 percent of the world’s lifeforms and is believed to harbor more diversity of life than any other country on earth on a per hectare basis.
However, observers said the Philippines is in the middle of a “biodiversity crisis” as a result of man’s unmitigated and destructive actions in relation to progress and development.
“This proposed law shouldn’t be set aside just because we think losing a specie or two has no direct effect on us. In fact, these kinds of losses have a profound effect on humankind since Mother Nature can unleash a chain reaction that we can’t hope to control. But taking better care of nature is something we can control. We have that choice,”Nograles said.