BENGUET Provincial Board passed on first reading on April 10 an ordinance that aims to regulate oleoresin tapping in the province.

Board Member Sario Copas introduced the provincial ordinance entitled "an ordinance regulating the extraction of pine tree oleoresin within the territorial jurisdiction of the province of Benguet."

"We will only allow oleoresin tapping if it is not environmentally destructive," said the Benguet Indigenous Peoples Representative.

Copas said they will have to conduct public consultation to hear the inputs of the stakeholders to be considered in the provisions for the ordinance.

"We do not totally ban it but we put it in place what it is beneficial to the community if the project of oleoresin tapping is for the livelihood of the people," added Copas.

Copas said through the ordinance, they hope oleoresin tappers will be guided to protect their environment.

Oleoresin tapping is the extraction of resin, a sticky liquid and organic substance locally known as "nicket" or "ole." The resin is used as a raw material for manufacturing cosmetics such as nail polish, and products such as paint, varnish, ink, and spoon.

In the 80's, the Benguet Board Members banned the oleoresin tapping in the province through Resolution 697, while the Benguet Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office have requested the Provincial Board to strengthen and convert the resolution into an ordinance.

Meanwhile, 16 tappers in Topdac, Atok in Benguet have expressed their interest in extracting pine tree resin and awaiting for the permit to operate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera. (Lauren Alimondo)