The centralized governance system of the environment has resulted in the fragmented and complex management of natural resources in the Philippines. To reverse this trend, policies were enacted to devolve substantial powers, responsibilities, and resources from the national government to local government units. The Local Government Code, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act, and the Fisheries Code are among the major policies that shaped decentralization reforms in environmental and natural resource (ENR) governance in the country. Yet, even after years of decentralization, unclear institutional arrangements, contradicting policies, weak property rights, and inadequate funding have continued to hound the ENR sector.
The current administration is pushing for a federal system of government to give the sub-national units 1 more power to pursue local development and strengthen their fiscal autonomy. Under a federal system, executive and legislative authority may be assigned to the states or provincial governments. As such, ENR regional governance is likely to improve accountability because sub-national units can better determine the needs and preferences of their people in terms of managing natural resources. Further, the proximity of local governments to specific areas should allow for the implementation of local solutions to local problems, which are more effective and efficient than blanket national policies.>>read complete document