A protocol on unified forest law enforcement that will further protect and preserve the Northern Negros Natural Park was signed by representatives of concerned agencies at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City yesterday.
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. led the signing of the protocol with mayors of the 11 local government units covered by the NNNP, Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office Director Senior Superintendent Allan Guisihan and 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Oscar Lactao, a Philippine Information Agency press release said.
The province, the DENR and PNP agree to observe a common protocol in the conduct of the enforcement operations of Task Force Ilahas, the Bantay Bukid Brigades and the DENR personnel in line with the incumbent directive of President Benigno Aquino through EOs 23 and 26 series of 2011.
The protocol will serve as a guide on the step by step process and actions to be taken in the enforcement of forestry laws especially within the NNNP.
In his message Marañon underscored the importance of the NNNP especially in agriculture where it is the source of the province’s water resources.
He said that it is incumbent upon local leaders to protect, conserve and preserve what is left and as much as possible to bring back to the original state if not 50 percent of forest cover since we only have one fifth of the cover left because NNNP forest cover is very important for our food security.
He also urged the leaders from barangay kagawads, barangay captains, representatives of various government and non-government organizations to the mayors present during the NNNP Management Council meeting to be aware of this.Meanwhile, Provincial Environment Management Officer Aleta Nuñez said she hopes that the protocol will be operational after the signing to address the issues raised during the meeting.
NNNP has a total land area of 80,454.50 hectares and as of 2001, the forest cover was reduced to only 22,288.81. It is the largest watershed of the Province being the main source of water for 17 municipalities and cities in Central and Northern Negros and home to numerous species of flora and fauna.*