Natural parks conservation up

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Bicol (DENR-5) is urging the public to involve themselves in safeguarding the region’s biodiversity through conservation and protection of natural parks.

“Let us plant trees every now and then, which is beneficial to the planet,” DENR-5 Regional Executive Director Gil A. Aromin, said.

DENR officials in Bicol recently discussed with Protected Area Management Board members the protection and conservation of natural parks at the Naga Regent Hotel in Naga City Tuesday (May 21) last week.

In that dialogue, both DENR-5 and the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) officials vowed stricter protection to Catanduanes Natural Park in the island province of Catanduanes and Mt. Isarog Natural Park in Camarines Sur.

PAMB is the governing body of a protected area composed of different stakeholders who directly and indirectly benefit from the park and its resources.

The forest of Catanduanes is regarded as the “last frontier” in the Bicol Region while the Mt. Isarog Natural Park covers watershed areas that serve as one of the main sources of potable water in Naga City and environs.

DENR-5 said the issues that confront the natural parks include the land boundaries, illegal cutting of trees and quarry operations.

There was also a request for the re-identification of waterfalls in Mt. Isarog Natural Park that can be opened to the public.

To intensify the protection of Mt. Isarog Natural Park, DENR-5 resolved to reactivate the Mt. Isarog Guardians (MIGs,) who serve as community volunteers.

“Mt. Isarog has wide area coverage and because of this, there is an urgent need to reactivate the MIGs and encourage all barangay captains whose areas of jurisdiction falls near or within the natural park,” Aromin said.

In another vein, the provincial environment and natural resources officer of Catanduanes acknowledged the operations of the Provincial Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force, which helped curb environmental crimes in the province.

DENR-5 assured the protection and conservation of natural parks through the development and implementation of Manual of Operations for the Protected Areas with the help of PAMB, its stakeholders and the public in general.