The Philippines is one of the world’s 18 mega-diversity countries, which collectively host more than 70% of the world’s species. It exhibits very high species endemism at it is home to at least 25 genera of plant and 49% of terrestrial fauna; it hosts more than 52,177 described species of which more than half is found nowhere else in the world. On a per unit area basis, the Philippines probably harbors more diversity of life than any other country on the planet. However, it is also the “hottest of the hotspots” in terms of biological diversity because of the rapid rate of habitat destruction, ineffective implementation and weak enforcement of existing laws.
The National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 (Republic Act No. 7586, NIPAS Act) was enacted “to secure for the Filipino people of present and future generations the perpetual existence of all native plants and animals through the establishment of a comprehensive system of integrated protected areas within the classification of national park as provided for in the Constitution” (Section 2, NIPAS Act).
The NIPAS Act provides the legal framework for the establishment and management of protected areas (PAs) in the Philippines, and that the use and enjoyment of these protected areas must be consistent with the principles of biological diversity and sustainable development.
NIPAS is the classification and management of all designated PAs, in order to maintain essential ecological processes and life support systems, preserve genetic diversity, ensure sustainable use of resources found therein, and maintain their natural conditions to the greatest extent possible.
Congress is presently amending the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act to build broader stakeholder support for PAs and management objectives, build capacity for PAs management and a more effective management responsive to the challenges of climate change and other concerns.