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|July 7th, 2008, 06:27 PM||#8|
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CAR's state of environment better than other regions, says official
Tabuk City, Kalinga -- With 35 percent remaining forest cover, the state of the environment of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is better than other regions. Except for Baguio City, air quality in the region is still best, the overall habitat remains bio-diversified and still the water shed cradle of northern Luzon.
This was the assessment given by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) Regional Executive Director Samuel Penafiel during a press conference last week with local media held at the Tabuk Multi-Purpose Cooperative Inn here, also the venue of DENR-CAR top-level management meeting.
He said all provinces of CAR have good forest covers to maintain ecological balance in the region. "Reforestation in the region took fast phase in the past, every cut down tree is changed by new planted forest tree seedlings," a technical director said but warned that DENR's investment on reforestation projects were also overtaken by the fast rate of deforestation.
During the conference, DENR-CAR cited collaborative programs of their office with the communities as among successful efforts done to make CAR an environmentally good place to live in. The national integrated protected area system (NIPAS) and community-base forest management (CBFM) have led to the establishment of protected and reforestation areas.
He cited among others the Balbalasang National Park, which remains intact because the inhabitants around involved themselves in preserving and protecting the area. Balbalan is a hall of fame awardee in environment management. The upper stream of the Saltan River that originates from the NIPAS park is potable.
On the state of water bodies, Penafiel said all river systems in the region maintain a class-B classification and upper streams as class-A. In order to remain in that state, settlers along these rivers have to take care of them. "We need water for drinking and irrigation so is our obligation as direct beneficiaries and stewards to protect them from pollution and drying," he asked through the media.
Meanwhile, Director Neoman De la Cruz stressed that the Mines and Geo-Science Bureau of DENR is promoting responsible mining in the region to help protect CAR's environment. He said we must be partners in pursuing that policy. "The region has vast suspect of mineral resource but their exploitation could not commence without the nod of affected communities and for mining companies to comply with the requirements of law," De la Cruz said.
The region has also some shortcomings in the areas of solid waste management and protecting the forest. Illegal cutting and furniture shops proliferated in CAR. Cases of forestry law violations are moving at turtle phase in courts and furniture shops mushroomed freely.
Supervising ENR Officer Noel Barientos of the DENR provincial office here said no furniture shop in Kalinga was given a permit to cut tree from an identified source. "The commercial use of trees is not prohibited but furniture shops should also secure permit as to the source of their material to also require them to change what they exploit through tree planting," he said.
Another lamentable state of the environment in the region is the low compliance of local government units (LGUs) on solid waste management where few LGUs complied with the policy of implementing a long-term plan on protecting the environment against pollution. "This is a devolved function to the LGUs and is now their concern to perform the job, Penafiel said. (PIA-Kalinga)
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