Village chiefs called out for Pulag destruction
LOCAL village officials are also accountable for activities in Mt. Pulag that pose threat to it.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-CAR stressed this in letters sent to four village chiefs whose jurisdiction are covered by the Mt. Pulag National Park and are faced by environmental issues.
The letters were addressed to Francis Delfin of Ekip, Bokod; Rudy Guinoran of Bashoy, Kabayan; John Balwang of Ballay, Kabayan; and Daniel Bugnay of Balete, Kayapa with copies furnished to the Department of Interior and Local Government - CAR.
In the letters, regional director Ralph Pablo noted the alarming land conversion and agricultural expansion in Ekip, Bashoy, Ballay and Balete.
"Your attention is hereby invited on the provision of laws presented under Executive Order No. 23 which states that Barangay captains and Local Government Units are equally accountable and required to share in the enforcement of environmental conservation and protection," he said adding the same is stated under the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the Local Government Code.
In addition, Pablo also highlighted that even under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, ancestral domains or portions of them that are proclaimed protected areas or are found to be of rich forest cover, critical watersheds and wildlife sanctuaries among others should be protected, conserved, maintained and/or developed through traditional sustainable practices with assistance from government agencies.
Pablo sought explanation for the issues on land conversion, agricultural expansion, earth-moving and timber poaching activities from the village chiefs who happen to be members of the Protected Area Management Board of Mt. Pulag.
While the DENR-CAR is the primary agency responsible for the protected area, Pablo hopes the village chiefs can help them in the enforcement of environmental laws given the fact that they are the closest to their area of jurisdiction so they could stop or prevent illegal activities within Mt. Pulag.|GJNFontanilla
DENR-CAR recognized in Gawad KALASAG
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-CAR has been recognized for its contribution in terms of disaster response during the onslaught of the Super Typhoon Lawin last year.
In this regard, a Plaque of Recognition was awarded to the DENR-CAR during the Cordillera Gawad KALASAG 2016 held on January 18 at the CAP John Hay Convention Center in Baguio City.
The plaque was in recognition of the DENR-CAR’s contribution in attaining safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient Cordilleran communities by providing assistance in the joint cutting and pruning of trees for disaster risk reduction.
The plaque was received by Engr. Gilbert Mangliwan and Ecosystems Management Specialist Ronaldo Barongan who are members of the DENR-CAR’s region-based Disaster Quick Response Team (DQRT).
During the onslaught of the Super Typhoon Lawin on October last year, the DENR-CAR lent two licensed chainsaws to the Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to be used in cutting and pruning of fallen trees.
The DENR-CAR in coordination with the Benguet Electric Cooperative also took rounds in the major thoroughfares of Baguio City to cut and prune trees which then pose threat to lives and properties.
A team from the Enforcement Division of the DENR-CAR also went to Calanasan, Apayao to document the extent of damage of the typhoon and respond to the needs of the local communities.
Since 2015, the DENR-CAR has activated its DQRT to man DENR-CAR’s Disaster Operation Center during typhoons and in times of disaster. In addition to their regular functions, they are tasked to report and promptly respond to any environment and natural resources-triggered disasters.
The Cordillera Gawad KALASAG awards led by the Office of the Civil Defense recognizes its partner agencies both from the public and private sector who has valuable contribution in disaster risk reduction and management; and humanitarian assistance.|GJNFontanilla