DPWH exec slams Pulag rape

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Thursday, January 9, 2014


DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways-Cordillera Director Edilberto Carabbacan on Wednesday denounced the rape of Benguet's pride, Mt. Pulag.

This came as he revealed a special meeting called by Benguet Representative Ronald Cosalan was held together with the DPWH and Department of Environment Natural Resources regional director Clarence Baguilat to address concerns on the country’s second highest peak.

"Even before the construction of roads and tire paths in the area, encroachers have already found their way there and established farmlands," Carabbacan said.

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The Highways official reported these farmlands are so vast backhoes are utilized to make areas in Pulag more suitable for farming.

“This is sad since it has been agreed between parties that the DPWH is only allowed to do 4 meters of road widening so as not to compromise the flora and fauna in the area,” Carabbacan lamented.

He then called on the community around Pulag to be the ones to safeguard their environs.

“One cannot rely solely on government to address all these problems. [The people] must be the ones to protect Pulag from these encroachers,” Carabbacan stressed adding the government is doing its best as well to preserve the famous tourist destination in the province.

Earlier, Baguilat already advised the carrying capacity of Mt. Pulag is only 120 climbers at a time. The Environment director then advised local government units concerned and also groups intending to climb Pulag to keep this number in mind for their safety.

It was last year when P10 million was earmarked for the rehabilitation and improvement of facilities in Pulag. Identified projects include improving the toilets, ranger stations and trails and to train guides as well.

Mt. Pulag, declared a national park, stands 2,924 meters. The park has a large diversity of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to the mountain. Its wildlife includes threatened mammals such as the Philippine Brown deer, Northern Luzon Giant Cloud rat and the Luzon Pygmy Fruit bat.

Mt. Pulag touches parts of Buguias, Bokod, Kayapa and Tinoc but is 80 percent part of Kabayan. Boundaries of the reservation reaches as far as Nueva Vizcay and Ifugao.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has set up camp along its perimeters in a bid to thwart encroachment and illegal logging in the sacred mountain.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 10, 2014.

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