Regional Executive Director (RED) Gwendolyn Bambalan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 2 has appealed to the public for the protection of forest plantations following the recent forest fire incident in Bugatay, Peñablanca, Cagayan.
In a media interview yesterday, Director Bambalan said that no traces of 'kaingin' or forest clearing within the area per investigation report conducted by DENR personnel and representatives of local government unit and peoples organization concerned. "The fire was possibly due to thrown cigarette butt in the area," she underscored.
The investigation spearheaded by the PENR Sub-Office of Cagayan revealed that said incident took place within the National Greening Program (NGP) forest plantation of Bugatay Upland Farmers Association (BUFA) in Peñablanca town. Over 20,000 Narra, Tuai and Tindalo indigenous species planted in 12 hectares and the 2.5 hectares adjacent grasslands were burned with a total damage cost of P300,000 pesos.
“I appeal to the public especially to the local residents and barangay local government unit of Bugatay to be responsible in throwing your cigarette butts, not just anywhere especially if within forest areas and plantation. The government has invested funds to establish forest plantation under the National Greening Program as remediation measures against the effects of climate change such as strong winds," the regional environment chief added.
According to her, a replanting activity will be jointly conducted by the DENR and members of the BUFA using the NGP maintenance and protection fund.
"Upon our immediate investigation, the fire incident which alarmed us in the DENR did not happen within the mountainous part of Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park contrary to what the netizen posted on Facebook," Dir. Bambalan said as she informed that no bigger trees were affected in the said plantation.
She also emphasized the strict implementation of forest protection and law enforcement in the region through the operation of Protected Area Management Board chaired by the DENR, enlisting the active involvement of law enforcement agencies.#