Guv asked: Talk with DENR, officials on park encroachment

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Thursday, March 13, 2014


A MAYOR of Salvador Benedicto has asked Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to talk with the Environment department and mayors of local government units (LGUs) to resolve North Negros Natural Park (NNNP) encroachment issue.

Mayor Jose Max Ortiz of Salvador Benedicto said he is one of the 39 individuals, who were issued a cease and desist order (CDO) by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) for the ongoing construction and development of structures on parcels of land within the NNNP in the area of Salvador Benedicto.

The mayor said more than 10,000 residents of the town are living within the NNNP, where government offices of the municipality are located.

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Ortiz said that a dialogue would resolve issues, because there is no law yet governing the NNNP, rather it is governed by the National Integrated Protected Area System Act (Nipas) of 1992.

He said the areas they occupy at present are classified as multi-use zone. What should be prohibited are those in the strictly protected zone, he said.

"We look at this controversy favorable to all the stakeholders to resolve the issues because this is part of our struggle to declare Salvador Benedicto as alienable and disposable," Ortiz said.

Ortiz said Marañon is also the vice chairman of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) chaired by the regional executive director of the DENR.

Rose Pablico of Penro said that more CDOs will be served against individuals who have structures within the NNNP protected areas.

She said that six of the 39 individuals, who were issued CDOs received the orders, while some of the CDOs were served to the barangay captains of the areas where they were located.

Lawyer Jose Mari Valencia, provincial legal officer and executive officer of Task Force Ilahas, said that Penro is not selective in the issuance of CDO.

"Those public officials and high profile personalities are supposed to set an example in abiding the law," Valencia said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 13, 2014.

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