THE dismantling of makeshift stalls on Mt. Sto. Tomas in Tuba, Benguet, is under way as authorities moved to prevent the further degradation of the watershed.

About 180 stalls sold souvenirs and refreshments to crowds who trekked to Sto. Tomas to watch the taping of a popular telenovella there last year.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Ralph Pablo said a number of stall owners tore down their structures themselves.

Demolition crews hired by the Tuba Municipal Government have orders to tear down the remaining structures.

"May mga nag comply na, pero may mga hindi pa rin," Pablo said.

The stall owners were given until July 2 to clear out.

The Court of Appeals had granted a Writ of Kalikasan to stop all construction work in the Sto. Tomas forest reserve.

Pablo said the DENR will do its best to protect the remaining 80 percent of Sto. Tomas' forest cover.

Sto. Tomas is one of the last forested areas in Southern Benguet, an important source of potable water for Baguio City and downstream communities like Tuba and Rosario in La Union.