Benguet execs condemn Kabuyao incident

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Officials of the province have condemned the tree cutting at Mt. Kabuyao within the Sto. Tomas reservation, saying the act is against laws of nature.

Indigenous Peoples representative and board member Blas Dalus, in a privilege speech during Monday’s regular meeting, urged the provincial board to pass a resolution of condemnation against the acts against Sto. Tomas.

Dalus said the resolution condemns the act of cutting the trees within the area of the mountain, which is within a watershed and forest reserve and is considered an Environmentally Critical Area (ECA) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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Dalus said the problem within the Sto. Tomas area and property of Baguio Representative Nicasio Aliping has been ongoing for months now, starting from the time Aliping wrote Punong Barangay Oliver Paus, asking for an endorsement to excavate in the area.

The letter dated April 14 was seeking for an endorsement to excavate over the land claim of the Alipings in the mountain.

The barangay denied the request of Aliping, but the group continued to excavate over the area, creating the uproar over illegal acts of cutting and excavation now.

Board Member Jack Dulnuan, however, is not satisfied with mere condemnations but wants to put more teeth into penalties for those proven to engage into illegal activities.

Dulnuan said when problems started with Mount Pulag those engaged in illegal activities continued with their work without fear.

The alderman said stricter rules as well as penalties must be imposed to those engaging in these activities for them to learn a lesson and have them fear the law.

"That is my fear, if we do not punish them, then, the activities will go on, they will just find another area to do their business," Dulnuan said.

"Who knows, they might move on to Kibungan and Bakun next," he said.

The provincial committee on environment is set to form group to assess all areas in the province where illegal activities are reported to have been going on.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 11, 2014.

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