By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Senator Cynthia Villar on Tuesday has started the public hearing on two priority environmental bills in order to protect and preserve the ecosystem in the countryside amid worsening climate change.
In her opening statement during the hybrid hearing on the measures, Villar said that the first agenda is the declaration as a protected area of the Tugbo Natural Biotic Area located in Masbate City and the Municipality of Mobo, in the Province of Masbate under House Bill No. 9488 principally authored by Representative Elisa Kho and its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill No. 1711 that I filed.
The second in the agenda, she added that are the bills seeking for the reclassification of the portion of Mangabul Forest Reserve Located in Bayambang, Pangasinan into Agricultural Land Open to Disposition to Bonafide and Long-Term Farmers of the Area.
These are House Bill No. 9253 principally authored by Representative Baby Arenas, Senate Bill No. 1961 authored by Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, and Senate Bill No. 2444 authored by Senator Bong Revilla.
In Declaring the Tugbo Natural Biotic Area as a Protected Area under the ENIPAS Act, Villar, chairman of the Senate committee on the environment and natural resources said that when she became the Chairperson of this Committee in 17th Congress, she vigorously pushed for the passage of Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018, which strengthened the legal framework for the establishment, management, and maintenance of all designated protected areas in the country or those that are identified to be ecologically rich and biologically important public lands that are habitats of rare and threatened species of plants and animals, biogeographic zones and related ecosystems. (ai/mtvn)