Senate okays bill on reforestation-A A +A
Thursday, February 7, 2013
A BILL authorizing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to reforest 3,000 hectares of public land in Cagayan de Oro, which was sponsored by Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro), was approved by the Senate on third and final reading.
Rodriguez was elated over House Bill 1398’s approval, citing the need to immediately reforest “our public land to prevent another flood from happening again and kill thousands.”
The House of Representatives passed the legislative measure almost two years ago as Rodriguez filed the bill in 2009 during the 14th Congress.
However, Rodriguez had to file it again in the 15th Congress and was received by the Senate on August 10, 2011, four months before Tropical Storm Sendong hit Cagayan de Oro.
“The main reason for the measure is to address the flashfloods that have been striking the city while helping mitigating climate change,” he told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
On January 3 and 11, 2009, the entire city was also engulfed by floodwaters for the first time in recent history.
Of the city’s total land area, 5,251 hectares or 38 percent is classified as timberland but only 1,809.43 hectares actually has trees or forest cover.
The bill also allocates some P37. 5 million, to be charged to the annual national budget, for the reforestation and will be carried out in the city’s two congressional districts.
Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said reforestation will protect the people in the city as well as the environment from flashfloods.
Escudero said the recent typhoons that hit Mindanao, particularly in Cagayan de Oro, are reasons for the urgent approval of the proposed legislation.
The House and Senate measure of the bill will be reconciled by the bicameral conference committee before it is submitted to Malacañang for enactment by President Benigno Aquino III. (Annabelle L. Ricalde)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 08, 2013.