Solon wants Mt. Masaraga declared as protected area
By Mar S. Arguelles
Albay 3rd District Rep. Fernando Cabredo has filed a bill declaring Mt. Masaraga in Ligao City as protected landscape area.
Cabredo, in a recent interview, said he filed a bill entitled Mt. Masaraga Protected Landscape (MMPL) Act of 2021, The bill once approved will declare the mountain as a protected area under the category of protected landscape and funds will be provided for its forest management operations.
The solon asaid he filed the bill to protect Mt. Masaraga from threats of forest degradation brought by natural and man-made environmental abuses.
Local environmentalist in albay said the 1,328 meters (4,357 feet) high Mt. Masaraga is home to diverse specifies of flora and fauna and a critical watershed for the Bicol River Basin.
“Rafflesia” considered as the world’s largest flower can be found in this bountiful mountain, a study of the Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) said.
Mt. Masaraga is a forested, sharp-topped, mountain and adjacent and close to Mayon volcano.
The CENRO study said that the beauty and pristineness of the mountain, however, is threatened by environmental abuses such as illegal logging practices, poachers, and kaingin system.
Environmentalists have urged local officials to implement forest management measures to preserve, protect and sustain the rich biological diversity of the extinct stratovolcano.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) lists the mountain as one of the inactive volcanoes of the Philippines. Tectonically, Mt. Masaraga is part of the Bicol Volcanic chain of volcanoes and part of the “Pacific ring of fire.”
Cabredo, who is also an environmental advocate, said “the protection and conservation of forests and mountains would greatly benefit the future generation.”
Placing the forest mountain under a protected landscape area would preserve the beauty of the mountain protect it from future exploitations, devastations such as kaingin, illegal cutting of trees, hunting, and irresponsible trekking, he said.
Under the bill, the Ligao City government and DENR would have a shared responsibility in preserving the pristineness of the mountain. The proposed MMPL would establish a Protected Area Management Office (PAMO), which shall supervise the day-to-day management, protection, and administration of the Mt. Masaraga protected area.
The bill also has wider coverage than the existing Mt. Masaraga Watershed Forest Reserve (MMWFR).
MMWFR’s main objective is to maintain the usefulness of Mt. Masaraga, as a source of water for irrigation and domestic use and other forestry purposes only.