Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is encouraging Filipinos to watch the TV premiere of the third "Our Fragile Earth: Protected Areas of the Philippines" documentary series on Aug. 22 to learn more about the importance of conserving the country's rich biodiversity.

"It is a good opportunity to know more about our protected areas while we are temporarily unable to go outside. They would not only learn about these magnificent ecological sites; remembering that we have these in the country can increase our positive outlook in life," Cimatu said.

The documentary series, which is produced by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), aims to gain support from the government and non-government partners to enhance the conservation of protected areas in the Philippines.

The third installment of the "Our Fragile Earth" series will feature eight protected areas in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Davao Region, and Soccsksargen namely, Dinadiawan River Protected Landscape, Talaytay Protected Landscape, Amro River Protected Landscape, Simbahan-Talagas Protected Landscape, Quezon Protected Landscape, Masinloc and Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape, Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, and Pujada Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape.

Conceptualized and hosted by House Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, the third part of the documentary series will premiere on ABS-CBN News Channel on Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m.

"How can we conserve what we do not know about, what we do not understand? Our people’s energies must be used to defend our natural heritage. We must all work together to conserve wildlife and nature and mitigate disasters worsened by climate change. Our survival also depends on how well we understand our surroundings," Legarda said.

The documentary series is one of Legarda's initiatives to promote ecological and sustainable tourism in all protected areas, especially those covered by the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas Systems Act of 2018 (ENIPAS Act) or Republic Act 11038.

"I principally authored the ENIPAS Act, which seeks to protect our protected areas. Its passage in 2018 would just be the beginning. Now that we already have the legal mechanism to protect these critical areas and prevent biodiversity loss, the challenge for us is to ensure its strict implementation as well as promoting awareness on the importance of conserving biodiversity and of the underlying threats to it,” Legarda said.

Signed on June 22, 2018, the ENIPAS Act paved the way for the establishment of 94 protected areas in the country, increasing the number of legislated PAs to 107.

It also serves as a mechanism to strengthen climate change adaptation measures and mandates Filipinos to ensure the integrity of ecosystems of the country for the present and future generations.

For his part, DENR Undersecretary for Special Concerns and BMB OIC Director Edilberto DC Leonardo said that protected areas are "unquestionably cradles of biodiversity."

"They have been set aside because of their immense biological significance and the ecosystem services they provide. In this series, we will introduce a new set of protected areas to the general public that highlight the role of nature--forests, rivers, and coastal and marine ecosystems as our life support system," Leonardo pointed out.

"We simply cannot survive without clean water, air, food, raw materials, among many other benefits that these ecosystems provide. They are the very reason why we need to maintain these ecosystems in a system of protected areas," he added. ###