FOUR cities and two municipalities in Negros Island celebrate Friday, August 10, the declaration of Mount Kanlaon as a protected park with a three-day series of activities in Barangay Biak na Bato, La Castellana.
La Castellana Mayor Rhumyla Nicor-Mangilimutan said the Municipal Government hosted this year's celebration and allocated P1.9 million for the three-day activity.
Last year's host was La Carlota City.
Dennis Miñosa, park superintendent of the Mount Kanlaon Natural Park, said the festival is "aimed to mark the passage of the law declaring it as a national park."
"We also want to showcase the biodiversity of the area through eco-tourism," Miñosa said.
The local government units covered by the natural park are the cities of La Carlota, Bago and San Carlos and the towns of Murcia and La Castellana in Negros Occidental and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental.
Miñosa also said that this initiative will hopefully "connect the people to the forest."
He admitted that with the 15 villages surrounding its foothills, "expansion cannot be stopped."
"Local governments need to put up structures like barangay halls, health centers, and schools to deliver basic services," he said.
However, these are regulated by the policies passed by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and enforced by my office, he said.
"We are always studying the forest's carrying capacity to ensure that it is not overexploited," he said.
Our office put up controls and policies to regulate the park's use, Miñosa said.
Mangilimutan stressed that the activity is also geared to strengthen camaraderie among the LGUs in the Kanlaon Natural Park in further preserving the protected area. (PR)