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.


Turn-over Ceremony of DENR-7 Officials

Two equally deserving personnel of PENRO Negros Oriental accepted the challenge that go along with being promoted to higher positions. In a simple yet symbolic turnover ceremony, For. Roldan Cotejo turned over the key of responsibility to Maricor Katada, Chief for the Licenses, Patents and Deeds Divison as the new OIC Chief, Technical Services for PENRO Negros Oriental.

In his message, Cotejo said change is inevitable in any organization and is grateful of the opportunity that comes along with it, as he embarks into his new journey as CENR Officer of Ayungon, Negros Oriental. He encouraged everyone to extend full support to the new TSD chief whom he thinks is best suited for the said position.


Photo Releases

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary. OIWS is the country’s first wetland of international importance for waterfowl declared under RAMSAR. This wetland area is now a critical stopover for tens of thousands of migratory birds travelling the East Asian Migratory Flyway, one of the most important shorebird and water bird migratory flyways in the world.


Hidden Bird Paradise. Mahaba Island in Talibon, Bohol is an undiscovered bird’s paradise. Mahaba Island is part of Barangay Calituban, one of eight island barangays of the Municipality of Talibon, which is located on the northwest side of Bohol.

Counting the gains of NGP. One of the most successful and remarkable milestones of National Greening Program (NGP) in Central Visayas is the established Coffee Plantations in San Pascual, Ubay, Bohol established in 2011 by the Ubay Federated Tree Planters Association, Inc. (UFTPAI).

As of today, UFTPAI native coffee is now marketed in Ubay and all other neighboring municipalities in Bohol.

Bugnay Wine. Made and produced by partner people’s organization, the Ubay Federated Tree Planters Association, Inc. (UFTPAI) in San Pascual, Ubay, Bohol

Man-made Molave Forest. One of Siquijor’s pride, the reforestation site is one of the oldest in the country, established in 1937. This 202.15-hectare molave plantation is found in Salagdoong, Maria, Siquijor.

Man-made Molave Forest (Salagdoong, Maria, Siquijor)

Nature’s Mystic Beauty. Lamanoc Island, Anda, Bohol. A newly discovered ecotourism destination in Bohol and is part of the Candijay-Anda-Mabini Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve and Wilderness Area, a protected area managed by the DENR.

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