PAMB expands off limits areas in Mount Banahaw and Mount San Cristobal

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PAMB expands off limits areas in Mount Banahaw and Mount San Cristobal

 1 Mount Banahaw as seen from Lucban Quezon MOD

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 4A CALABARZON Executive Director Reynulfo A. Juan, concurrently Chairman of the Mounts Banahaw–San Cristobal Protected Landscape-Protected Area Management Board (MBSCPL-PAMB) said the restrictions covered in the PAMB’s Resolution No. 002-2012 is still in place until March 2015 and announced the board’s coming out with a new resolution to include areas in strict protection zones in Mount San Cristobal. PAMB Chair Juan called a special meeting on Wednesday, April 2.

Juan revealed that some 90.42 hectares area in Mount San Cristobal in Sitio Calo, Brgy San Cristobal were razed by fire on March 18, just a day before a 50 hectares area (as earlier estimated during the aerial surveillance) at the Durungawan in Mount Banahaw. Protected Area Superintendent Salud Pangan informed Juan that a team sent to the area to assess the damage on the ground has set the total area burned at 14.20 hectares.

Protected Area Superintendent Salud Pangan informed PAMB Chair Juan of another fire incident on Mount San Cristobal on Tuesday, April 1, which consumed some 50 hectares in Brgy. Sta. Lucia, Dolores, Quezon. The fire has not been completely declared under control as of this writing the PAMB was in session since smoke can still be observed from afar.

 

Juan also revealed that to give more teeth to the resolutions, the PAMB decided to issue an ordinance expanding the restricted areas within the MBSCPL. The PAMB members who attended the special meeting laid out areas as strictly restricted, limiting entry of pilgrims and tourists without first securing permits, imposition of fees, filing of appropriate charges on violators and setting fines and jail punishments.

Lawyer Sheila de Leon of Tanggol Kalikasan facilitated the discussion and was tasked to finalize the ordinance.

Juan enjoined members of the PAMB, as well as the constituents of the officers and members to lead in execution of the provision of the ordinance in their respective areas of jurisdiction. PAMB members include the barangay captains and the mayors of the towns and cities surrounding the protected area.

 

MBSCPL-PAMB Resolution No. 001-2014 formalizes the reinstatement of all the incumbent PAMB members’ appointment to the PAMB because their term had expired after the last October 31, 2013; and affirmed the appointment for the newly elected officials.

To beef up the limited forest ranger force assigned to MBSCPL, Juan announced the possible enlistment of some 50 Bantay Banahaw deputized personnel to help in the protection efforts specifically during the Holy Week. He said some P500,000.00 will be allotted for the purpose.

He assumed that there could be more Bantay Banahaw warm bodies with the support of Quezon Provincial Government as he suggested PG ENR Officer Manny Calayag getting Quezon Governor David Jayjay Suarez’ go signal.

Calayag, who has been at the forefront of protecting Mount Banahaw even before the 2004 moratorium, maintained that the recent fire was not ‘spontaneous’ but was caused by people who were not supposed to be there. He also maintained a stern stance that violators should be punished as necessary.

Meanwhile, De Leon reported that the six pilgrims pilgrims (Fracisco Alpapara, 73; Cristy Bolante, 45; Emerenciana Santiago, 44; Richard Espita, 43; Tristan Joe Alpapara, 28 and Jinky Mae Dumanan, 21) earlier detained at the Sariaya Police Station have been charged with violation of RA 9847 Section B, Item No. 1 and of PAMB Resolution No. 2012-002 at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Lucena City. PASu Pangan, however, said they have been released after posting bail.