The National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 was enacted in response to an urgent need to protect the rich biological diversity of the Philippine ecosystems, which is seriously threatened by human exploitation. One of the critical elements of the law is the creation and administration of a trust fund, known as the Integrated Protected Areas Fund (IPAF) intended to finance the projects of the system. All incomes earned by the protected areas are deposited to the National Treasury as a trust fund, with 75% of the collection to be allocated to the protected areas that generated the revenue, and the balance, retained by the central IPAF to support non-revenue earning protected areas and the operation of the IPAF Governing Board. After NIPAS law’s 12 years of implementation, this paper looked into the institutional and operational issues attendant to the establishment and operation of the IPAF, such as the multiple management structure, tedious bureaucratic procedures in accessing the fund, perceived increase in exploitative/development activities, and revenue sharing allocation will be explored and documented in details. To a certain extent, the study also explored how the presence of IPAF has affected the inflow of other funds into the protected areas and how come many protected areas are not generating its own revenue or not obtaining financial support from the central IPAF as intended. The study has established that 12 years after the NIPAS law, only 12 of the 68 protected areas that earned IPAF revenues have managed to secure the release of its IPAF fund and not one of the 140 non-earning protected areas has obtained financial support from the central IPAF.
An Institutional Assessment of the Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF) in the Philippines