Philippines: Volunteer watchmen to save the Angat watershed from illegal loggers

Environmentalist groups in Bulacan associated with the Sagip Sierra
Madre Environmental Society in the province are willing to provide
volunteer watchmen to save the Angat watershed from illegal loggers.
Martin Francisco, chairman of the society, said their group is willing
to coordinate and field additional volunteer forest rangers with the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other
concerned agencies to stop illegal loggers from denuding the forest
cover of the major water reservoir for Metro Manila’s drinking water.

Every time issues on the forest denudation in the province are taken
up, DENR officials readily admit that illegal logging operations have
been taking place in the watershed and claims that the number of
forest rangers that they have are not enough to cover the whole of the
forest reservations in the Angat, Ipo and Doña Remedios Trinidad-Gen.
Tinio watershed areas. Moises Butic, Bulacan provincial environment
officer, admitted during a meeting with the Task Force Kalikasan of
the Bulacan police in Camp Alejo Santos in this city, that the most
badly denuded watershed area is the Ipo watershed, with its forest
cover already 60 percent to 70 percent denuded. Based on the
department’s monitoring, Butic said the illegally felled timber in Ipo
watershed are usually being transported through the town of Montalban
in Rizal province. To provide more forest rangers’ visibility and at
the same time prevent timber poachers from denuding the remaining
forest covers of the three watersheds, Francisco said the volunteer
forest rangers are willing to be deployed there, provided that the
DENR and other concerned agencies provide them with funds for their
operations. “Since our group was primarily set up on a volunteer
basis, we don’t have enough funds for such operations,” Francisco told
the BusinessMirror. With reference to the recently discovered illegal
sawmill, complete with kiln drying facilities and sash factory, in the
forest cover of Doña Remedios Trinidad town, Francisco said that based
on the group’s monitoring, there are still other illegal sawmills
operating in the watersheds in Bulacan.

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Comments (2)

bro Martin FranciscoFebruary 15th, 2009 at 5:06 am

Dear sir:
thank you very for posting this news or event in our Bulacan areas of Sierra Madre, this will really help to let our government do their share in giving priority in forest protection since Sec. Lito atienza declared this year 2009 as the year of envorcement.

But look to what happened after almost two months of 2009, illegal logging in massive numbers continues here in Bulacan side of Sierra Madre where we host 4 major weatersheds that supplies 97% of water to Metro Manila.

I posted all my docu and photos in my website to prove my accusation. My point here is not destroy the DENR per see but to call an immediate and sustainable action from our government personnel who do not do their shaire with the wrong reason of having NO BUDGET. But they have enormous budget for corruption if their reforestation program.

I met the PGMA, I was able to talk to Sec Lito saying their is budget to enforce forest protection. But up to know they dont want to act or allow us to help them apprehend illegal loggers by deputizing us Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental society and also monitoring the some DENR protector of illegal activities here. somebody mus be answerable in all these mess.

We just want to help and not to destroy our government or the our DENR.

bro Martin Francisco, bsmp-pj
(02) 379-9772

Rodolfo S. BernardoAugust 20th, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Dear Mr. Martin Francisco,

I wish I could provide my own effort to assist you in this endeavor knowing that in joining such a noble task — saving and nurturing the environment — would entail quite a large amount of steady fund.

Allow me though to offer some possibilities to make this task sustainable:

1. We may begin organizing youth environmental protection groups from both the private
schools along the towns directly affected by the onslaught of forest denudation.

2. Organize grassroots community members along the river banks of Doña Remedios
Trinidad, Angat, Norzagaray, and San Jose Del Monte.

3. Lease a lot along the river bank — say for example the narrow stretch of land that can
be viewed from the Angat River bridge in the direction going to Doña Remedios Trinidad — to be developed as a Community Eco-Park with Cultural Revival Activities Facility.

4. Launch this Environmental Protection Program through a Summer Fluvial Festival that will feature navigation of the Angat River up to the point that it drains to the Bustos Dam.

We must save our remaining forests and rivers from eventual irreversible denudation and pollution. And we must act now!


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