DUE TO the Permanent Environmental Protection Order (Pepo) issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in May 2015, the Forest and Environmental Task Force of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) Baguio together with police are closely monitoring the Mt. Santo Tomas Forest Reserve (MSTFR) in Tuba, Benguet.
“As part of our tasks, we are protecting the environment against any activities that may degrade the forest reserve,” Cenro Baguio Enforcement Unit chief Lunes Marcelo said.
The conduct of check pointing, surveillance and monitoring at the forest reserve by the members of the task force was created by virtue of the Forest and Environmental Task Force special order number 2015-11-43 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The task force together with the police officers manning the area said there are still visitors who are not aware the forest reserve was closed due to the PEPO.
Allowed to enter the forest reserve are residents, members of churches, communication network personnel, media personalities and those with coordinated official business from Cenro Baguio. Some 12,751 individuals have entered the forest reserve from April to May this year.
The forest reserve was closed since 2015 following the case filed by Bishop Carlito Cenzon and Archbishop Socrates Villegas. This covers Sitio Pungayan in Tuba, which is the actual site of the fictional village of La Presa in the hit ABS-CBN teleserye "Forevermore" starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil in 2015. (PR)