Fongwan tells DENR: ‘Reclaim Pulag’

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Governor Nestor Fongwan is asking the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to reclaim Mount Pulag.

Fongwan said after all is said about the destruction of the sacred mountain, the DENR has to take action.

"We should not stop in the presentation of data," he said.


The governor is pushing for the reclamation of the area as well as the filing of cases against those found in violation of the law.

Mt. Pulag, the highest peak in Benguet Province, at 2,924 meters and is a favorite trek for climbers who want experience the sunrise at its highest point, is also considered a sacred mountain and tagged as the playground of the gods.

Fongwan said illegal settlers within the area must be charged to help declog the area of structures.

"They think that holding a tax declaration is a proof of ownership, but it is not, it is just for tax purposes," he said.

Fongwan added further compounding the problem is the proliferation of vegetable garden in the area, another situation, which needs solid action from the DENR.

The Mt. Pulag area touches parts of Buguias, Bokod, Kayapa and Tinoc but is 80 percent part of Kabayan. The boundaries of the reservation reaches as far as Viscaya and Ifugao and declared a park reservation.

The National Park, covering 11,550 hectares, was established to protect and preserve the natural features of the area such as its outstanding vegetation and wildlife.

Tree cutting has also been a perennial problem within the national park and the governor is pushing the DENR to files the appropriate charges against the perpetrators.

Last year, Fongwan went to the extent of asking the Armed Forces of the Philippines to set up camp at the perimeters of the Mt. Pulag reservation in a bid to thwart encroachment and illegal logging activities in the area.

Despite efforts, problems within the area persist.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 12, 2014.

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