KABAYAN Mayor Gideon Todiano fears the degradation of the sacred playground of the gods.
Todiano raised problems of the continued destruction of the Mt. Pulag National Park in Land Congress last week and claimed there is no management plans made for the mountain for the past 30 years.
“We have real problem in Kabayan. What happen with Mt. Pulag, in 1987 it was proclaimed as a national park without consultation so there is a violation of rights among Indigenous Peoples.”
The Mt. Pulag area touches parts of Buguias, Bokod, Kayapa and Tinoc but is 80 percent part of Kabayan. The boundaries of the reservation reaches as far as Viscaya and Ifugao.
The National Park covers 11,550 hectares were established to protect and preserve the natural features of the area such as its outstanding vegetation and wildlife. It belongs to Northern Luzon’s Cordillera Biogeographic Zone.
Todiano said the government’s plan to declare it as a national park was probably good, the problem, there was no plan made adding the roles of the local government unit, the national government are not clear.
“What happened, the park was destroyed,” Tadiano said. The chief executive said one meter of stones were plotted in the mountain and added the bermuda grass where people can walk on barefoot were gone. At present, camping sites became muddy because of the uncontrolled number of tourists.
“Is that how you maintain Mt. Pulag?” added Tadiano.
The area is also a National Integrated Protected Area Program (NIPAP) site.
Mt. Pulag, the highest peak in Benguet Province, at 2,924 meters, is a favorite trek for climbers who want experience the sunrise at its peak.
Todiano said I am not arguing with Department of Environment and Natural Resources but it’s like that because we have a problem. I am just trying to correct injustice that happened to Kabayan.”
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on November 21, 2017.
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