DENR - CAR appeals for community involvement in forest protection

BAGUIO CITY, April 12 (PIA) - - Department of Environment and Natural Resources Cordillera  reiterates  its  call for active participation and cooperation of highland communities and local government units in the protection and preservation of forest cover  amid the  alarming number of forest fire incidents.  

 

Regional Director Ralph Pablo, in presiding the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CRDRRMC) Task Group on Forest Fire Prevention and El Niño Mitigation meeting in April 5, emphasized the need for a massive campaign against forest fire.

DENR - CAR Regional Director Ralph Pablo, in a media interview calls for LGU and community cooperation in forest fire prevention. Pablo chairs the Cordillera Regional DRRM Council Task Force on Forest Fire Prevention and El Niño Mitigation. (CCD/PIA CAR)

DENR – CAR data shows that from January 1 to April 4 of this year, 124 forest fire incidents were already recorded in the region affecting 1,571 hectares of natural forest;  1,343 hectares of plantation forest and 107 hectares of grasslands.  Estimated cost of damages was set at around P23.322 million.

The fire incidents were mostly due to kaingin (slash and burn), illegal grazing of pasture land and gathering of forest resources (such as hunting, bee keeping), among others.

Pablo said of the region’s land area of 1.8 million, 1.5M hectares of this are classified as forest area. At present, the region still has around 43 percent of forest cover intact.

Currently, DENR has around 480 forest rangers or a ratio of one forest ranger patrolling around 3,000 hectares of forest land.

 The government alone cannot address the concern on forest fires, or more particularly, the protection and preservation of the region’s vast forest cover without the active participation and cooperation of people and local government units  especially in the upland communities, Pablo stressed.

 Forest fire that causes damage to life and property can be correlated with the filing of arson, which under the Bureau of Fire Protection Standard Operating Procedure is a criminal case which can be meted with the maximum highest penalty depending on the gravity of the case.

 Burning garbage or even dry leaves, which also causes forest fire incidents, is also prohibited under the country’s Clean Air Act, Pablo added.

 DENR – CAR is the lead agency of the CRDRRMC Task Group on Forest Fire Prevention and El Niño Mitigation with  BFP as the vice chair. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)

By Carlito C. Dar

 

 

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