ALL areas in Cordillera should be surveyed and delineated for both protection and development purposes, said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Cordillera Director Ralph Pablo.

Pablo said the absence of technical specifications of a particular area is one of the common reasons why despite initiatives from local government units and even lawmakers to push for the proclamation of areas in the region to be protected, they cannot.

"If you want to proclaim a certain area to be a nationally protected area, you should have a survey which specifically and technically describes and identify the meets and bounds of that area," he said.

"A survey will help you know what are you protecting, who are you protecting within that area and what is the limit of protection you can give," he said, adding this will also address the issue on encroachment.

Pablo said while DENR is committed to land delineation, they usually encounter oppositions from peoples of some communities, especially indigenous peoples who have misconceptions about surveys.

The common misconception the DENR usually has to clarify is delineation does not necessarily mean development of a particular area, but is a step toward protecting it and the people within the area.

"What they do not know is that through a delineation, we are not only surveying the area but the people for planning purposes like what can be done to protect the area and what programs should be implemented or recommended to at least help the people continue their living in that community without compromising the environment," he said.

Of the aggregated total of 54 kilometers targeted by DENR-Cordillera for survey, the agency only accomplished 15 kilometers.

The DENR continues to do the rounds in the region to conduct the survey with a thorough information campaign to communities to avoid oppositions which sometimes hinders the delineation process.

In a recent event in the region, Senator Loren Legarda said there are about 100 areas in Cordillera that are being pushed to be proclaimed as nationally-protected areas through a legislation.

With an accomplished survey of these areas, Pablo said the proclamation of these areas will surely be fast-tracked and will eventually prevent and solve problems in deforestation, encroachment, overpopulation and urbanization, which are factors contributing to environmental degradation in the region. (Giovanni Joy Fontanilla)