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PENCAS bill signed into law

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) bill, which aims to establish a system for the collection, compilation, and development of natural capital accounts in the government as a tool for development planning and programming, policy analysis, and decision-making, is now a law.

Negros Occidental 3rd district Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez, who principally authored PENCAS in the House of Representatives, yesterday thanked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for swiftly signing it into law.

Benitez said “this law will now help us keep track of and understand the value of our country’s natural resources and ecosystems.”

That way, he added, we can make smarter decisions about how to take care of our environment while still growing the economy sustainably.

PENCAS will also serve as a comprehensive data framework in the generation of natural capital statistics and accounts for their progressive integration in macroeconomic indicators, according to a statement issued by the House of Representatives.

“We acknowledge that solid data is crucial in preserving and developing our natural capital, and we hope to provide tools and measures that can contribute to the protection, conservation, and restoration of ecosystems,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Antonia Loyzaga said PENCAS will not only determine the contributions of various ecosystems to economic development, but will also result in better management of natural resources and improved climate and disaster resilience.

Senator Loren Legarda, who lamented the lack of accounting of the country’s natural resources, a major driving force in the Philippine economy, said that “PENCAS would provide us with clear directives from government agencies to have the data to assess the physical and monetary worth of ecosystems, including forests, watersheds, and coastal and marine areas.”*

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