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Saturday, July 20, 2019

More funds needed for protected areas

A CONSERVATIONIST urged the National Government to update the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and put up an adequate budget for the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL).

This, after discovering that more people have encroached on the CCPL, causing forest fragmentation and diminishing biodiversity. Some of these illegal settlers have also encroached on strict protected zones.

In her speech before CCPL stakeholders during the 10th anniversary of the passage of Republic Act 9486 (CCPL law) yesterday, Aida Granert of the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation Inc. urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to hasten the updating of the IRR for the CCPL and to increase its budget.

Granert, a member of the Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB) for the CCPL, said that little efforts have been done to implement its provisions since the law was passed 10 years ago.

She said the CCPL is supported by a DENR budget that she believes to be “woefully inadequate.”

After RA 9486 was passed, the CCPL should have its own budget line item in the annual General Appropriations Act, she said.

Forester Jose Cleo Colis of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and CCPL protected area superintendent, admitted that they cannot control the continuous encroachment of illegal settlers citing lack of personnel.

While they were required to collect user’s fees from CCPL settlers who were able to secure special use agreement in protected areas (SAPA), less than five settlers are properly paying their dues to the DENR.

Colis disclosed that more than 50 landowners are using the CCPL without SAPAs.

Colis said that if CCPL users properly pay to the DENR, it will have enough funds for the protected area’s projects.
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