BAGUIO CITY – The handbook on the Declaration of Principles on Environmental Governance (DPEG) for the Cordillera region was launched in an advocacy forum held on July 2, 2015 at the University of the Philippines (UP) – Baguio. Said Declaration was crafted to serve as a guide and to set policy directions in environmental management.

The Declaration’s first principle on strengthening environmental institutions underscores pursuing regional autonomy for effective, sound and responsive environmental governance.

In the forum, RDC Vice-chair and NEDA Regional Director Milagros Rimando said that decentralization has been at the core in the crafting of the DPEG. The view that autonomy results to better control over the region’s utilization of the natural resources is a shared sentiment, she added.

NCIP Commissioner Zenaida Pawid also said that autonomy as a form of governance can prevent and potentially resolve environmental problems in the region. The encroachment of forest lands and prevention of land conversion to tourist destinations can be prevented by the regional institutions which will be established in an autonomous government.

Rimando explained that the autonomy set-up can decentralize the approval and regulation of permits for water use or mining applications. It can also potentially strengthen the provisions of the IPRA.

The crafting of the Declaration was funded from the Autonomy Program in 2012 with UP Baguio as the project partner.The Declaration was adopted and endorsed by the RDC on October 8, 2014.