DESPITE its noble intention, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Cordillera denied a request by La Trinidad officials to plant coffee beans within the protected Puguis Communal Forest.

Mayor Romeo Salda revealed the Council Resolution 154-2016, requesting DENR-CAR Regional Director Engr. Ralph Pablo, to plant Arabica coffee within the 10 hectares from the 48 hectares of Puguis reserve was rejected because the communal forest remains under DENR management.

Proposed by Councilor Arthur Shontogan, the resolution sought the permission of the DENR to allot at least 10 hectares of land for the project within the protected communal forest.

The proposal sees the need to double or triple the production of coffee after the Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera constructed the first ever shared service facility project for Arabica coffee post-harvest processing and cupping laboratory in Benguet.

According to Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Rainier Balbuena, the proposed plantation was disapproved because coffee growing under the shade of Benguet pines stands is stunted in spite of applying agricultural skills.

The environment office however proposed to La Trinidad officials to instead set their sights on Busol watershed.

DENR, added it has yet to solve the problem on encroachment within the communal forest.

Based on records from the environment office, some 190 transfer certificates of titles and 18 tax declarations by certain individuals were discovered during the latest Assessment Census and Survey of Informal Settlers conducted by the Technical Working Group composed of CENRO Baguio, PENRO Benguet and LGU representatives.

The DENR reported only .7297 hectares remains free from adverse claim, aside from the 9.2757 hectares titled by a certain Tiotioen Family which was cancelled in favor of the government.