DENR publishes Handbook on Law Enforcement in Protected Areas

The Handbook on Law Enforcement in Protected Areas in the Philippines, such as Mt. Apo Natural Park, provides guidelines to effectively implement laws, rules and regulations in protected areas.

USAID’s Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program supported the Philippines’ Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) to develop the Handbook on Law Enforcement in Protected Areas.

It contains standard protocols and procedures for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and inter-agency and multi-sectoral groups to improve apprehension, investigation and intelligence gathering, and to successfully prosecute environmental crimes committed within protected areas in the country. After reviews and consultations with the DENR’s enforcement and legal officers, Protected Area Superintendents, deputized community enforcers and prosecutors from the Department of Justice Prosecutors, the handbook was finalized and adopted by BMB through a technical bulletin and is currently published and distributed nationwide. Appropriately responding to environmental violations that contribute to forest degradation is a core part of USAID-B+WISER’s Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System (Lawin). Lawin, jointly developed by USAID and DENR, was piloted in ten protected areas throughout the Philippines and later adopted as part of DENR’s national strategy for forest protection. Lawin combines regular forest patrolling to record threats to forest health and effective law enforcement and development-oriented initiatives, such as livelihood diversification, to strengthen forest and biodiversity protection in the Philippines.