DENR-CAR, La Trinidad and claimants agree on status quo within Puguis
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-CAR, the Municipal Government of La Trinidad and land claimants led by Mr. Pedro Isican have agreed to maintain status quo within the Puguis communal forest.
This means that ongoing activities such as clearing, construction of illegal structures and illegal tree cutting should be stopped and no new developments should be introduced.
While the agreement was verbal, the parties agreed to seek for a formal status quo order from the court.
A status quo order was sought to ensure peace and order and prevent further destruction and encroachment in the area while awaiting for ongoing legal cases to be resolved.
The status quo is a result of a dialogue on January 12 where the different parties expressed their stand and tried to reconcile issues relative to the Puguis communal forest.
One of the issues discussed during the meeting was the cancellation of a land title named under Evaristo Tiotioen covering 9.2757 hectares within the communal forest and the reversion of its classification into forestland.
The title issued to Tiotioen was a subject of a case filed before the Regional Trial Court in the past which was annulled. Subsequently, the Land Registration Authority issued a title named under the Republic in the Philippines in 2011.
Apart from the earlier-mentioned, three lots with land areas of 41,541 square meters; 123,938 square meters (Lot 1); and 56,566 square meters (Lot 2) are also being claimed by the heirs of Tiotioen. Their claims over Lot 1 and 2 are being contested making them subjects of pending cases before the Court of Appeals.
While awaiting for court decisions on the legal cases, the DENR-CAR through Regional Director Ralph Pablo and La Trinidad Legal Officer Atty. Jennifer Fianza insisted that the Puguis communal forest remains a forestland which should be preserved and protected against any activity that poses destruction.
“Let us let the Court decide on these matters. For the meantime, we hope that all parties adhere to the agreed status quo,” Pablo said.
In addition to the DENR-CAR’s forest guards and rangers, the Police Regional Office-Cordillera and the Philippine National Police in La Trinidad have committed to deploy a mobile group which shall assist in monitoring and ensuring that no further developments are conducted within the forest and no person, apart from the existing occupants, encroaches the area.
Early December last year, the DENR-CAR filed a case against land claimants within the Puguis communal forest for disregard and violation of existing laws by building permanent and temporary structures and illegally cutting trees in the area. |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