DavNor PENRO works for declaration of Pantaron Range as local protected area

DAVAO  DEL NORTE (PIA)- – The provincial government of Davao del Norte takes a parallel effort with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protect the 27,000- hectare portion of the Pantaron Range that straddles through regions in Mindanao.

“Ang Pantaron, gi-push na karon para maprotektahan, ma declare as protected area kay mao nalang ni ang pinaka dako na forest na nabilin sa atoang probinsiya (The Pantaron Range is  pushed to be protected, be declared as a protected area because that is the remaining largest forest in our province),” said Nelso Plata, department head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Local Government Unit (LGU) Davao del Norte.

Plata revealed this plan as guest of Sayron Ta! Pakigsayod: Serbisyo Alang sa Katawhang Pilipino Radio Program run by PIA XI Davao del Norte aired every Wednesday from 8:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. over DXNR Radio 911, operated by the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte.

As most of the 27,000 hectares within the geographical area Davao del Norte covers the indigenous peoples (IP) communities in the municipality of Kapalong and Talaingod, Governor Edwin I. Jubahib has hired IP leaders as forest guards.

Plata said 24 forest guards have been deployed under the Pantaron Range Protection Program of the province, to monitor and to keep  a close watch on illegal encroachment and poaching of flora and fauna from the forest.

“Base sa mga reports na among nadawat nakatabang gyud ang atung pag deploy ug mga forest guards kay na maintain kumbaga wala na kaayoy naga sulod. Ila ng ginabadlong (Based on reports we got, the deployment of forest guards have immensely helped in preventing people from entering the forest.  They’re driving them away),” he said.

“Ang  among gipang deploy kay mga ‘Datu,’ tung mga IPs nato kay sila man ang nasayod sa area kumbaga naay command didto kay naa silay mga tao  (We are deploying the Datu IPs because they are knowledgeable of the place, and they have the command because they have constituents in the area),” he said.

In a separate edition of the Pakigsayod, Davao del Norte PENRO of DENR XI looked forward for the entire Pantaron Range to soon be declared as  a protected area under the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS)  or Republic Act 11038.

Guesting in the Pakigsayod radio program on June 7,  DENR PENRO  expressed optimism that Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez could make it through the Congress his proposed bill  regarding Pantaron Range.

The Pantaron Range straddles the four regions of  Davao, Caraga, Northern Mindanao, and Central Mindanao.

Plata said the provincial government makes the parallel move with that of Congressman Alvarez so the LGU can readily take action to preserve and conserve  the Pantaron Range in case the Congressional initiative gets derailed.

Meanwhile, Davao del Norte PENRO LGU Supervising Management Specialist Reil Dolosa, on the same radio program, revealed that as early as 2020, PENRO LGU of Davao del Norte started conducting Biodiversity Assessment to achieve the goal of declaring the 27,000 hectare Davao del Norte Pantaron Range covered areas, as “Local Conservation Area.”

The social conditions of IP communities living at the peripheral areas of the proposed Local Conservation Area also formed part of the Biodiversity assessment  aside from flora and fauna found within.

Citing the Pantaron  Range as the major watershed source and headwater of some major rivers in Mindanao such as the Cotabato River, Taguloan River, Liboganon River, Lasang River, and Davao River, Deloso stressed the vital importance of protecting such mountain range.

“Naa diha ang tinubdan sa dagkong mga sapa, naa sa Pantaron Range (The headwater of major river is there, in Pantaron Range),” he said.

The PENRO LGU is getting towards the completion of the necessary documents in support of the proposed declaration of the Pantaron Range area in Davao del Norte as “Local  Conservation Area.”

Plata is optimistic that such thing can happen before the term of Gov. Jubahid ends, with the support of the  Sangguniang Panlalawigan.  (JMDA/PIA Davao del Norte/ Photos are online generated from DENR)

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