DAVAO CITY, Philippines — There is an urgent need to protect the watersheds of Panigan-Tamugan and Talomo-Lipadas.
In her privilege speech on December 7, Davao City Councilor Pilar Braga said that she received a letter from Euro Generics International Philippines (EGIP) Foundation presenting environmental concerns and actual situation of the Obu-Manuvu community of Sitio Macatabo, Brgy. Carmen, Baguio District.
According to EGIP, there are 36 forest guards trained and accredited by the DENR. Of these, 23 are given allowances by the City government.
Around 15,000 forest and fruit trees have been planted so far.
Places such as Sitio Kalatong in the northern part of the ancestral domain, however, were trespassed again by intruders taking woods in the area and even establishing illegal structures.
Intruders entered the said sitio on March 2014 and August 2018.
EGIP foundation added that the area is a protected watershed and potable water source for Davao City and was declared a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA).
But it has taken more than one year until the joint forces of City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were able to demolish the structures and remove the intruders on November 23, 2019.
The intruders reportedly returned on December 02, 2019, possibly due to the recent decision of the City Prosecutor to dismiss the case filed by CENRO.
The EGIP foundation recommended the creation of a task force against environmental crimes to take immediate action concerning apprehending the culprits and assess environmental change.
The councilor said she referred the matter to the committee on environment chaired by Councilor Diosdado Mahipus. (Porsha Sera, HCDC intern/davaotoday.com)