Fongwan keen on Pulag road closure

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Monday, August 25, 2014


BOKOD, Benguet -- Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan is keen on closing a road being used to transport illegally logged trees from the Mount Pulag National Park.

Reports reached the governor's office that a road was opened by still unidentified individuals in Sitio Naubanan in Ekip, Bokod, which is part of the forest reservation of Mt. Pulag early this year and is used for illegal activities such as the transport of illegally cut trees and illegally acquired agricultural supplies.

Fongwan said upon the recommendation of Bokod Mayor Mauricio Macay and the request of some residents, the more than 4-kilometer road from Ekip, Bokod passing through Naubanan and leading to Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya needs to be closed down due to the extent of illegal logging and agricultural conversion being done in the area.

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According to Fongwan, the road was constructed without permits from the local government units and the other government agencies particularly the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the agency tasked to manage the national park. The DENR did not issue an Environmental Compliance Certificate for the road.

In May this year, the Joint Provincial and Municipal Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force conducted an inspection of the Naubanan Area passing through the road and discovered more than 10 hectares of forest land were cleared by kaingin to give way to agricultural lands.

Although cases have already been filed in court against three individuals who were identified to have conducted the kaingin, Mt. Pulag National Park Superintendent Emerita Albas said the road closure in Naubanan is necessary to prevent more damages to the national park.

Albas earlier recommended the road closure during a meeting with the Regional Peace and Order Council and the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council.

Meanwhile, the Governor believes illegal activities in Mt. Pulag will be deterred with the presence of police at the newly inaugurated Community Police Assistance Center at Badadac, Mt. Pulag.

Although it serves as tourist information and assistance center, the main purpose of the COMPAC station is to protect Mt. Pulag from illegal activities. (Redjie Melvic Cawis)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 26, 2014.

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