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
Annual Asian waterbird census held
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-CAR participated in the recent conduct of Asian waterbird census through consecutive bird watch at Magat-Maris Dam in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao and at Talaca, Tabuk, Kalinga ON January 12-13 and January 17-18, respectively.
Ecosystems Management Specialist II Linda Claire Pawid said the waterbird census primarily aims to “monitor the existence of various waterbird species especially the endangered ones”.
This year, an estimate of 20,000 egrets were observed in Kalinga while they were about 4,000 egrets; 2,000 ducks and more than 400 herons observed in Ifugao.
The waterbirds which passed the region were mostly from China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Australia.
According to Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist Trinivic Silang, November to February is the season of migratory birds wherein the month of January is the peak.
The results of the census are eyed to serve as basis for waterbird population and the changes in waterbird area distribution.
In the Cordilleras, the DENR-CAR was joined by the local government units of Alfonso Lista and Tabuk; officials from barangay Namnama; Department of Tourism-CAR; Philippine National Police-Alfonso Lista; National Irrigation Authority; National Power Corporation; SN Aboitiz; Kalinga State University; Ifugao State University-Alfonso Lista Campus; Benguet State University; Baguio-Benguet Wildbird Photographers Club; Wildlife Enforcement Officers of Alfonso Lista.
Prior to the bird count and monitoring, the participants had an orientation about the activity. The orientation was conducted not only for the participants to know how the waterbird census is done but for them to have increased awareness and knowledge about waterbird species, wetlands and their importance at the local, national and international level.
The Asian waterbird census is an annual activity conducted across Asia and Australasia wherein government agencies, local government units and organizations dedicated to wildlife visit wetlands in their areas and count waterbirds.
The activity is part of the global waterbird programme called the International Waterbird Census led by Wetlands International.
Apart from the Asian waterbird census, the DENR-CAR also participated in the International Black-faced Spoonbill census on January 1-4. The objective was to monitor sightings of the endangered species. Unfortunately, such was not observed in the region. |GJNF