Sen. Cynthia Villar, asserting the urgent need to save the endangered Mulanay Watershed Forest Reserve in Quezon Province, asked Congress to urgently pass a law declaring it as a protected area (PA).
Recognizing the richness of its biological resources—both flora and fauna—that are native and distinct to the Mulanay Watershed Forest Reserve (MWFR), as well as their aesthetic and ecological importance, Villar promptly filed Senate Bill 1691 to declare the watershed as a PA to be known as the San Francisco Protected Landscape (SFPL).
The senator asserted that the Mulanay Reserve should remain as a PA given its “rich and lush forest vegetation that serves as habitat of various wildlife, including threatened flora and fauna species.”
With its total area of 29.6 hectares, she cited its rich biodiversity of flora and fauna include those in the updated national lists of threatened Philippine plants and animals and their respective categories.
Moreover, the senator acknowledged a Biodiversity Monitoring System Report had identified 83 floral species and 59 faunal species in the area, three flora and two fauna species of which were classified as endangered.
Significantly, she noted that the MWFR also provides clean source of water for the people for household and agricultural use.
In 2021, she related that MWFR was subjected by the DENR to the Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA) to determine its suitability to be legislated as a PA under the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act.
Through the PASA, it was determined the MWFR is suitable to be declared a PA under the category of Protected Landscape. It was then renamed as “San Francisco Protected Landscape” through legislation.
“As such, the State shall ensure the conservation, protection, management and rehabilitation of the area. It is likewise recognized that effective administration of this area is possible only through cooperation among the national government, local government units, concerned non government organizations, private entities and local communities,” the senator said, reminding that “the use and enjoyment of this area must be consistent with the principles of biological diversity and sustainable development.