Tugbo Natural Biotic Area now a PA under NIPAS – Villar

Tugbo Natural Biotic Area now a PA under NIPAS – Villar

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — The Tugbo Natural Biotic Area (TNBA), found in Masbate City and Municipality of Mobo in Masbate Province, is now among the country’s Protected Areas (PAs) under Republic Act (RA) 11806, which became law on 2 June 2022, said Senator Cynthia A. Villar.

RA 11806 declares that the said protected area will be managed within the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) and thus, should be allocated with funds consistent with its protection.

Villar, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change, along with Rep. Elisa “Olga” Kho (Masbate, 2nd District) in the Lower House, authored and pushed for the declaration of the 255-hectare TNBA as a PA.

Villar noted that it is a primary water source and home to various endemic flora and fauna, including vulnerable wild bird species.

The law states that TBNA is acknowledged as a protected area “in recognition of the richness of its biological resources, both flora, and fauna, that are native and distinct to the Tugbo Watershed Forest Reserve as well as their aesthetic and ecological importance.”

For this reason, the law mandates for the conservation, protection, rehabilitation, and effective administration of the TBNA, which could be made possible through cooperation among national government, concerned local government units, non-government agencies, private entities, and local communities. The law further read that “the enjoyment of the area must be consistent with the principles of biological diversity and sustainable development”.

The inclusion of TNBA as a protected area has brought to 113 the legislated protected areas in the country. However, Villar pointed out that there is more work to be done as “there are still numerous sites in the country that has yet to be given protected status by legislative action to ensure their conservation.”

Villar also pushed for the passage of RA No. 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018, which strengthened the legal framework for the establishment, management and maintenance of all designated PAs in the country or those that are identified to be ecologically rich and biologically important public lands.

The Expanded NIPAS Act is a landmark law because it facilitated the legislation of ninety-four (94) more protected areas or PAs, in addition to the 13 PAs individually legislated under the operation of the original NIPAS law. (ai/mtvn)

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