Solon backs partial delisting of Mount Data as national park

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BONTOC, Mountain Province – Rep. Maximo Y. Dalog, Jr. expressed his support to the partial delisting of irreversible portions of the Mount Data National park from a Presidential Proclamation that established over 5,000 hectares from Tublay, Benguet up to Sagada, Mountain Province as a national reservation.

The neophyte lawmaker pointed out that the proposal of Benguet to totally delist the Mount Data National Park will not serve its purpose because it will defeat the efforts of concerned government agencies and local governments to preserve and protect the remaining watersheds and expand the same for the benefit of the present and future generations of Cordillerans.

“We are in favor of the partial delisting of the irreversible portions of Mount Data but we are not in favor of the total delisting of the declared national park because it will definitely result to more serious problems in the preservation and protection of the environment, especially in the Cordillera which had been identified as the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon,” Rep. Dalog stressed.

He explained that Mountain Province might lose its identity once the Mount Data National Park will be delisted considering that it might send a wrong signal to the people wherein massive destruction of the forest will surely be done once the same will be delisted.

Dalog recommended to the environment department to sustain the efforts of the government to preserve and protect the environment, thus, it should only be the irreversible areas within the reservation which should be delisted while the areas that could be preserved and protected should still be reforested and re-greened.

According to him, the present and future generations should be allowed to inherit a good state of environment for them to be able to enjoy God-given gifts to the people by having a good place to stay and good air to breathe.

The Mountain Province lawmaker asserted that concerned government agencies and the local governments involved should intensify efforts to preserve and protect the remaining forested portions of the Mount Data National Park and expand the same to areas that are still feasible to be reforested to prevent the same from being eventually occupied that will have a serious negative impact to the region’s state of environment.

He admitted that there are already irreversible portions of the reservation which had been already affected by the increasing population and the desire to establish commercial vegetable farms that is why the said areas should be the ones that will be delisted so that the remaining portions will have to be preserved and protected by the people living in the said areas.

Mountain Province remains to be one of the most forested provinces in the Cordillera that help in sustaining the region’s identity as the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon because it remains as the major source of abundant water flowing into the different river systems that flow to the lowlands wherein the same is used for domestic, power generation, agricultural, industrial, irrigation and for other purposes.

Dalog insinuated that one of the ways to enhance the government’s efforts to preserve and protect the environment is for the institutionalization of the ‘batangan’ system, an age-old indigenous practice of caring for the planted trees in communal forests in the province which had been passed to generations and had been sustained through the past several decades.

By Hent