DENR project seeks to widen protected areas nationwide

By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has launched its New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project or NewCAPP that would widen protected areas and stave off biodiversity loss.

Protected areas include national parks, game refuge and bird sanctuaries, wilderness areas, watershed forest reserves, and mangrove swamp forest reserves. These areas are not used for any commercial, residential, or industrial purposes as these are home to diversities of flora and fauna.

NewCAPP also aims to strengthen the effective management of protected areas by the DENR, local government units, civil society, and grassroots communities.

The project will be conducted for the next five years and will be primarily managed by the DENR, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB), and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The project was launched in time for the national celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDBD) last May 22. The official launch will be on May 23 at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

Nine areas in the Philippines have been identified as pilot sites. These are Balbalan-Balbalasang National Park in the Cordillera Region; Zambales Mountains in Regions 1 and 3; the mountains of Irid Angelo and Binuang in Region 4-A; Polilio Group of Islands in Region 4-A; the mountains of  Iglit Baco National Park in Region 4-B; Nug as Lantoy in Region 7; Mount Nacolod in Region 8; Mount Hilong-hilong in Region 13; and Tawi-tawi Island in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

According to DENR statistics, there are 107 protected areas covering 3.34 million hectares.

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