Ortiz: We will defy NNNP demolition

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


MAYOR Jose Max Ortiz of Salvador Benedicto town declared Wednesday that the Municipal Government will defy any removal and demolition of structures at the multiple use zone of the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP) located in their locality.

"If there is somebody or any government agency who will order the demolition, we will defy the order," Ortiz said.

He was reacting to Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.’s statement last week that the demolition of illegal structures at the NNNP will be conducted soon.

"We see no problem if the demolition will be done at Strictly Prohibited Zone. The Municipal Government should be the one to regulate because we already have the Forestry Land Use Plan approved by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and it is only PAMB that is the administering body and has jurisdiction on the matter," Ortiz said.

He added that the Technical Working Group (TWG) will submit its report and recommendation to PAMB regarding the NNNP issue at Salvador Benedicto.

Ortiz lamented that their municipality is being singled out on the issue of encroachment at the NNNP even though the forest reserve covers several localities from Murcia town to San Carlos City.

Last week, Marañon said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is ready to demolish the illegal structures at the protected area of the NNNP in Salvador Benedicto which include those owned by individuals who were served cease and desist orders (CDOs).

A total of 89 individuals were already served CDOs for putting up illegal structures within the NNNP.

The governor said the demolition will not have legal impediment, because the owners of the structures trespassed the law.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) officer Andres Untal earlier said the matter will be referred to the PAMB before the demolition takes place.

Untal issued 49 more CDOs on top of the 40 served earlier after the PAMB’s TWG reiterated its recommendation for the demolition of illegal structures.

The 38-member TWG, composed of the local environment officers of the 11 local government units and representatives of non-government organizations, reiterated the recommendations it presented to the PAMB during the April 10 meeting.

The group had also recommended that the 200-hectare area will be included in the NNNP as buffer zone and will form part of the town site.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 22, 2014.

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