Jul 12, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte just signed a new law declaring 94 protected areas as national parks, therefore subjecting them under government protection and management.

Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 2018 puts protected areas under the control and management of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“These areas, although distinct in features, possess ecological values that may be incorporated into a holistic plant to conserve and protect our natural heritage,” the law says.

Here are some of the declared protected areas:

  • Taal Volcano, Batangas and Cavite
  • Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, Quezon City
  • Chocolate Hills Natural Monument, Bohol
  • Aliwagwag Protected Landscape, Davao Oriental
  • Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, Sorsogon
  • Hinulugang Taktak Falls, Rizal
  • Las Piñas-Paranaque Wetland Park
  • Mt. Mayon Natural Park, Albay
nolisoli national parks nipas law
Agusan Marsh in Agusan del Sur, home to giant crocodiles. Photo courtesy of Erwin Mascariñas for Inquirer.net

New and bigger protected areas:

  • Tañon Strait, Cebu and Negros Islands (534,589 hectares)
  • Ticao-Burias Pass, Albay, Masbate, and Sorsogon provinces (414,244 hectares)
  • Samar Island Natural Park, Samar (335,105 hectares)
  • Siargao Island, Surigao Del Norte (283,974 hectares)
  • Turtle Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Tawi-Tawi (242,958 hectares)
nolisoli national parks nipas law
Aliwagwag Falls, Davao Oriental. Photo courtesy of Karl Sumbeling for Inquirer.net

The new law, of course, comes with the provision that requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint special prosecutors for violators of the laws in the protected areas. Among the acts that are against the rules are the following:

  • Trespassing and disturbing wildlife
  • Hunting, taking or collecting any wildlife or by-products
  • Cutting, gathering, removing or transporting timber and forest products without permission
  • Using any fishing gear and doing practices that destroy marine life
  • Dumping toxic chemical, untreated sewage, or animal waste
  • Kaingin or causing forest fires
  • Damaging and leaving roads and trails
  • Littering
  • Possessing or using blasting caps or explosives
  • Occupying or dwelling in any public land
  • Building any structure, fence, or closure
  • Conducting any business enterprise without permission
  • Purchasing or leasing lands

Violators will pay fines that range from P50,000 to P5 million and prison terms from six to 12 years. Government officials who violate any provision of the law will also be disqualified from holding public office. Forever.



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Featured image courtesy of Richard A. Reyes for Inquirer.net

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TAGS: department of environment and natural resources environment heritage sites in the Philippines national parks nipas law nolisoliph philippine tourism