The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 has stepped up its efforts by giving priority to forest fire prevention in the management planning strategy of protected areas to ensure the protection of the region’s biodiversity and their habitats.

 This came following the ‘dry’ months that have been experienced recently affecting some parts of Central Visayas.

            “It is more sensible to avert forest fire rather than controlling them through regular monitoring, public awareness, and intensive and aggressive information, education and communication efforts with the communities,” DENR 7 Regional Director Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo added.

Aside from these measures, he also pushed to establish fire lines which is a 10-meter wide vegetation-free strips that is usually established at the borders of the plantation and at given intervals inside the plantation, to contain the fire in case it breaks out.

            “We spent a sizable amount to maintain and grow these plantations and it would be a sad situation when our reforestation initiatives will turn into ashes because of forest fires,” he said.


He further explained the carelessness and irresponsible activities or human-induced that may cause a fire to break out include thrown lighted cigarette butt, a campfire with still live cinder or charcoal left by hunters or campers, and a pasture land burned to improve live-stock grazing.

In an effort to avoid bush or forest fire, he added the role of people’s active participation by organizing and mobilizing the members of the community to serve as volunteers at a barangay or sitio or purok level.

“We need the active participation of the communities and the barangay captains in ensuring our plantations will not get burned as a result of either man-made activities or nature-induced because of El Niño,” Montejo added.

Montejo said that grasses and other vegetation dry up and become very flammable during summer or dry months.  He suggested that these dried litters should be collected and removed from the site as they are potential source of fire.

“I have instructed all our three provincial environment and natural resources (ENR) officers and four community ENR officers to continuously monitor and conduct a regular patrol in all protected areas and plantations so that we would be able to prevent the occurrence of forest or bush fire in coordination with concerned local government units (LGUs) and people’s organizations,” he added.

PAs in region 7 are Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CPL), Candijay Group of Island Wilderness Area and Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, Inabanga Wilderness Area and Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, Panglao Island Protected Seascape, Talibon Group of Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape, Alijawan-Cansuhay- Anibongan River River Watershed.

Also in Bohol are Tubigon Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve and Wilderness Area, Clarin Group of Island Wilderness Area, Calape Group of Islands Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve and Wilderness Area, Carlos P. Garcia Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, Getafe Group Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve and Wilderness area, Ubay Area 1 and 2 Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, Cabilao-Sandingan Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, Loboc Watershed Forest Reserve, and the Chocolate Hills Natural Monument.

There have been a series of grassfire outbreaks in the four of the country’s most important protected areas: Mt. Apo in Davao; Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato; Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon; and Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Island. The fire in Mt. Apo remains unabated.

Relatedly, critical or hotspot sites are those areas with large national greening program (NGP) and ‘old’ growth plantations.  These include Argao and Oslob in Cebu; Ubay, Buenavista, Getafe, Pilar, and Talibon, all in Bohol.

 In Cebu City, the 630-hectare Buhisan Watershed Forest Reserve (BWFR) which has been part of the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL) has been closely monitored as the forest reserve is said to be supplying close to 5,000 cubic meters of surface water a day to Metro Cebu.


Area Development, Subsidiarity and Federalism

 The Manila Times

by Philip Camara on January 5, 2017 Analysis


TIMES of crisis are windows for great opportunity. That is an old Chinese saying. But in these troubling times (for many), what opportunities indeed lie ahead? There are quite a few and the promising thing is they seem to be opportunities that would open up given current trajectories or the way things are unfolding. Indeed, 2017 may be the year that developmental change finally proceeds.

The world is shifting away from the international policies of recent decades that, while they have created well-being for unprecedented billions of people, have likewise resulted in great tensions. Not just tensions between peoples but tensions between people and their environment and even tensions inside people due to an identity overly linked to consumerism rather than their inherent truths; consumerism that threatens the very sustainability of Mother Earth.

One such opportunity is the re-emergence within government of the area development paradigm or development framework under Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez. While Sixto K. Roxas was its initial advocate in the late 1960s it had unfortunately been bastardized in several big government projects that went puff! (just as the autonomous regional experience is going puff!) due to wrongful implementation, which in turn was due to a misunderstanding of what area, development is basically about.


Photo Releases

Bojo river is an 8-km estuarine river with a depth of 3.8 meters during high tide. It shelters 61 species of endemic and migratory birds, 96 species of plants and 22 mangroves species. 

Nursery in CENRO Ayungon which supports the massive reforestation under the National Greening Program.

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