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DENR, DBM sign guidelines on fund for protected areas

Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Budget and Management signed a joint circular retaining a substantial portion of revenues generated by protected areas (PAs) to be used for development activities.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the move would boost efforts to reverse rapid biodiversity loss in the country.

“This is certainly a new milestone in the country’s protected area management. At the same time, it is a big boost to our efforts of promoting ecotourism in the country as it allows us to reinvest some 75 percent of all revenues generated by a protected area to activities deemed necessary to protect and rehabilitate the PAs,” he said.

Paje and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad signed the joint memorandum circular (JMC) or the implementing guidelines of Republic Act 10629, which provided for the retention and use of 75 percent of Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF) by Protected Area Management Boards (PAMBs).

IPAF is a trust fund established under RA 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act, as amended by RA 10629.

It includes all earnings generated from operating a PA, such as taxes from the permitted sale and export of flora and fauna and other resources from protected areas, proceeds from lease of multiple-use areas, contributions from industries and facilities directly benefiting from the protected areas. Other income derived from the operation of the protected area like entrance fees and ecotourism activities also contribute to the fund.

Under the joint circular, PAMBs will now remit only 25 percent of the IPAF to the National Treasury.

It will be placed in the Special Account in the General Fund, along with revenues remitted by the PAs prior to the effectivity of the guidelines.

Paje said the retained amount, which will be called the IPAF Retention Income Account, would help PAMBs improve their financing flow.

“The joint circular allows PAMB to immediately utilize their share of the IPAF without having to go through the National Treasury,” Paje explained.

The JMC provides steps and procedures in the collection and deposit, disbursement, accounting and auditing, and reporting mechanisms to ensure the systematic, transparent and accountable management of the retained earnings by the respective PA office.

“The retained earnings can only be used to fund implementation activities specified under a Protected Area Management Plan and should be approved by the PAMB. The fund, however, excludes personnel service expenditures,” explained Paje.

With the circular, the DENR chief said the PAs would have the incentive to increase their user fees, and develop and strengthen innovative financing mechanisms since they can now use available resources whenever needed.

This development, he said, will hopefully encourage other donors to contribute to PA development, subject to approval by the PAMB and in accordance with the approved PA management plan.

There are currently 240 PAs in the Philippines, including large natural parks, landscapes, wildlife and marine life sanctuaries that are recognized under NIPAS and covering 5.45 million hectares or more than 18 percent of the country’s total land area.

PAs are established for conservation and management of the “last remaining representatives” of Philippine habitats and ecosystems.  

 

AREA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY RAMON PAJE GENERAL FUND INTEGRATED PROTECTED AREA FUND MANAGEMENT NATIONAL INTEGRATED PROTECTED AREAS SYSTEM NATIONAL TREASURY PAJE PROTECTED
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