PROVINCIAL Capitol will strengthen its watch over the remaining forest in Negros Occidental by hiring more Bantay Bukid Brigade (BBB) members and reactivating Task Force Ilahas.

Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr. said they want to preserve the remaining forest of the province that is slowly denuding.

Negros used to have 80,000 hectares remaining forest before, but now only 22,000 hectares are left.

Maranon said the denudation of the forest cover is due to encroachment, illegal logging, charcoal making and other activities that destroy the trees.

The governor met Thursday with members of the BBB and heard their concerns. The volunteers were assured of insurance coverage and they can also avail of additional supplies and personnel.

Maranon said the BBB members are risking their lives to go after illegal loggers and treasure hunters. (TED)