NNNP placed on status quo

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


THE Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (Penro) has ordered that a status quo be maintained at the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP) in Don Salvador Benedicto until the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) acts on the controversy.

Status quo means that there will be no new construction, no additional clearing and no expansion at the Protected Area of NNNP by those who bought lands through stewardship certificates In the said area.

Penro head Andres Untal declared Tuesday a status quo of all the structures and activities within the NNNP during a conference held Tuesday.

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The meeting was attended by about hundred participants, who are mostly owners of the structures which lots were acquired through certificates issued with the Cease and Desist Order (CDO) by Penro.

Untal told the owners that their activities, including acquisition through certificates, were illegal because of the lack of permits from PAMB.

"A mere application is not a permit. We would like to come up with a win win solution that's why we called the conference to come up with a better position to the PAMB," Untal said.

But those who acquired the lands within the NNNP cried foul on the declaration of status quo, because they said they have been planting trees in the area and helped the local residents in acquiring jobs without any support from the government.

Mayor Andrew Montelibano of Murcia, who also bought lands within the NNNP, said the DENR should make a recommendation to PAMB.

"As mayor of Murcia with an area also covered by NNNP, I am a member of the PAMB. Tanan nga mayors nasakop sang NNNP with the Barangay captains are members of PAMB. Ti ang gua sini apinay naman as piña ko kon Sa Amon ti indi man giapon amo. The better thing to do is to determine what is legal," Montelibano said.

Monet Lacson, who also bought lands in the area, said: "What are they protecting there? Hilamon? When we came to the area there was no trees there but herbs. DENR should recommend reasonably to PAMB."

PAMB is set to meet on the matter in April 10.

Mayor Jose Max Ortiz of DSB, during the meeting, encouraged all the stakeholders to submit to PAMB their position papers on the issue. "We would like to define what is Don Salvador Benedicto."

He also confirmed support for the individuals who bought lands in the town, because he said they are their partners to the development of the town. "We welcome them all in the town because they can help the town without compromising the environment."

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 26, 2014.

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