Senator Loren Legarda lauds the signing into law of the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Act or Republic Act No. 11995. This landmark legislation, principally authored and sponsored by Senator Legarda, marks a significant stride in integrating environmental sustainability into the country’s economic framework.

The four-term senator, renowned for her dedication to environmental causes, celebrated this legislative milestone as a transformative development for the Philippines.

“It has been a long and pioneering journey since we first filed what we then called the Philippine Economic Environmental and Natural Resources Accounting (PEENRA) in 2001. This signing also ties into our efforts from 1998 for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, as economic indicators, especially in damage estimation, will no longer be nature-blind. Today, as we embrace PENCAS, we affirm our commitment to valuing our natural resources alongside our economic metrics,” Legarda stated.

The PENCAS Act mandates the inclusion of the country’s natural resources as a vital component of the national economy, supplementing traditional metrics such as gross domestic product (GDP) and human capital. This innovative approach will equip the government with essential data, aligning national planning, policymaking, and budgeting with the United Nations’ System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) standards.

“It is a data-driven approach that will inform policy making, allocate resources efficiently, raise public awareness, and align with global sustainability goals, solidifying the importance of preserving these invaluable natural assets for economic and environmental well-being,” she added.

Expressing gratitude for the collaborative effort behind the law, Legarda acknowledged the vital support from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department of Agriculture (DA), along with various experts who have dedicated their time and effort since the pandemic to scrutinize and enhance the measure.

“The tireless support from these parties emphasizes the urgent need to measure what we treasure and shows the consensus on the importance of this law,” she remarked.

The passage of the PENCAS Act into law is set to revolutionize how the Philippines values and manages its natural capital, ensuring a sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.

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