Charges will be filed against violating pilgrims, tourists

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PAMB Mount Banahaw Chair Juan Charges will be filed against violating pilgrims tourists MOD

Reynulfo Juan (3rd from left), Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 4A CALABARZON Regional Executive Director and concurrently Chairman of the Mounts Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape - Protected Area Management Board (MBSCPL-PAMB) stressed that charges of violation of RA 9847 Section B, Item No. 1 and of PAMB Resolution No. 2012-002 have been filed against the six pilgrims (Fracisco Alpapara, 73; Cristy Bolante, 45; Emerenciana Santiago, 44; Richard Espita, 43; Tristan Joe Alpapara, 28 and Jinky Mae Dumanan, 21) at the Provincial Prosecitors’ Office in Lucena City. Tanggol Kalikasan lawyer Shiela de Leon report said they admitted having been denied permission but they went into the restricted area anyways, hence the charges. Penalty fines and jail term will be determined upon assessment of the damage done to the mystic mountain, she said. Protected Area Superintendent Salud Pangan (2nd from right, partly hidden) said that the six were reportedly out on bail.

RED Juan said DENR Secretary Paje had strict instructions to file charges against the violators and pursue the case to the finish, and to serve as warning to would be violators. Juan, who called a special PAMB meeting on Wednesday, April 2, announced that the restrictions covered in the PAMB’s resolution in 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.

He 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 present 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.

To beef up the limited forest ranger force assigned to MBSCPL, Juan said 50 able bodied residents from the barangays surrounding the protected area will be hired and deputized as Bantay Banahaw personnel to help in the protection efforts specifically during the Holy Week. He said some P500,000.00 will be allotted for the purpose.

Also in photo are DENR Region 4 A Regional Technical Director for Protected Areas. Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service Dr. Domingo Bravo (2nd from left) and Quezon Provincial Government ENR Officer Manny Calayag representing Quezon Governor David Jayjay Suarez (right).