THE Baguio Regreening Movement is asking the Regional Environment and Natural Resources Department to relax the implementation of the Temporary Protection Order over the forest reserves of Mount Santo Tomas in Tuba, Benguet.
In the weekly "Talakayan sa Environmental Code," BRM chairman Erdolfo Balajadia recommended the measure to allow tourists to once again have the chance to visit the said area.
“The Mount Santo Tomas area is a beautiful and important place where we should let the Tourist enjoy the scenery provided they will be regulated,” Balajadia said
The chairman reiterated that the TEPO should not be that absolute but to allow a better management system which will preserve and protect the area while being shared to the people.
“Being that there is an existing order being implemented by the DENR, it is just that we should not allow the existence of shanties if ever the DENR would relax some of the provisions of the TEPO. It is important that we share the beauty of Cabuyao and Mount Santo Tomas,” the chairman said.
A team from the DENR-CAR has been established to monitor and define the entry of people in the Mt. Santo Tomas area based on a permit they are to relaease.
The Temporary Protection Order (TEPO) for the Mount Sto. Tomas forest reserve was granted by the Supreme Court en banc in its 2014 session after former Baguio City Bishop Carlito Cenzon, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas led people of Tuba, Benguet, and San Fabian, Pangasinan, to file a petition seeking for a Writ of Kalikasan and Writ of Continuing Mandamus with a TEPO.
Then respondent Baguio City Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. and those acting on his behalf were directed to cease and desist from performing acts to develop or enhance the property located at Mount Santo Tomas forest reserve.
The TEPO also order steps to mitigate the contamination of the Amliang dams.
It further directed “respondent Municipality of Tuba, through then Tuba Mayor now Benguet Board Member Florencio Bentrez, to cease and desist from accepting applications for issuances of tax declarations over lands within the Mount Santo Tomas forest reserve, from processing applications which have already been filed and from issuing tax declarations which have already been processed and approved."
The SC also tasked the Court of Appeals to take charge of the hearing process and the decision.