LUNA, Apayao – Governor Elias C. Bulut, Jr. mandated an intensified environmental protection of Apayao’s remaining forest dubbed as “Last Forest Frontier in the North” and tapped the Philippine Eagle Foundation to train locals on their significant role in conserving the biodiversity and in protecting the Philippine Eagle found in the province.
The Provincial Government of Apayao under the Environment and Natural Resources Division initiated training on biodiversity conservation of twenty (20) local green guards from four (4) barangays on August 23-25 at Brgy. Marag here.
Gov. Bulut challenged the participants from Barangays Marag, Calayucay, Cagandungan and Calabigan here to work sincerely in protecting the environment. “Ti kayat ko ket naimpapuswan nga panagayat iti kabakiran tayo. Haan lang nga diay tandan ti inggaran yo no di ket mas pay diay maipaay yo koma nga pagsyaatan ti lugar tayo (What I desire is your sincere love to our forest. Do not be so focused on the payment of your service but rather on valuable contribution you can render,” he said during the opening program of the training.
Philippine Eagle Foundation Director of Research Conservation Dr. Jayson Ibañez spearheaded the training of the 20 locals. He has been committed in supporting Apayao not only because of the presence of Philippine Eagle in the area but also the vastness of virgin forest in the area. “Ang pagbabantay ay hindi lang dapat sa Philippine Eagle kundi sa buong kalikasan. Ang kagubatan ng Marag ay isa lang sa mga natitirang kagubatan sa bansa na tinatawag na lowland forest (It is not only the Philippine Eagle which requires protection but the whole forest. Marag is one of those only left lowland forests in the country),” Ibañez stressed.
The PEF oriented them on the significance of the green guard program to the protection of the Philippine Eagle and biodiversity conservation. The participants had learned also the salient features of environmental laws such as Republic Act No. 9147 otherwise known as an Act providing for the conservation and protection of wildfire resources and their habitats.
Luna Mayor Josephine Bangsil fully supported the program of the Provincial Government underscoring the benefits it provides for the locals.
Mr. Marcelo Menor, OIC ENR Division Head and his staff have been aggressive in ensuring proper implementation of environmental laws in the province. They are expected to initiate programs and activities in line with Gov. Bulut’s desire to be more receptive in addressing environmental issues in the province aimed of attaining Apayao’s vision as a prime-agroforestry center and eco-tourism destination of the far North.
BY GERRIAHZON S. SEBASTIAN