BAGUIO CITY – The Philippine eagle sanctuary in the virgin forest of Calanasan, Apayao is now being eyed as part of the elite United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biodiversity and Protected Area to ensure the sustained preservation and protection of the environment to allow the endangered species to thrive and multiply, Apayao Gov. Elias C. Bulut, Jr. said here recently.
Bulut was one of the guests in the recently concluded 3rd Cordillera Environment Summit organized by the Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) headed by regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo where he underscored that sustaining the preservation and protection of the environment goes with visionary and dedicated public servants like his family.
Apayao boasts of over 286,000 hectares of virgin forests that could strand for over 64 kilometers around the province.
The governor announced that the groundwork for the inclusion of the Philippine eagle sanctuary in Calanasan, Apayao as one of the few UNESCO Biodiversity and Protected Area is a partnership among the Apayao provincial government, the Philippine Eagle Foundation and the United States Foreign Service.
“Four of our provincial employees are now in the United States undergoing the required training with the US Foreign Service in preparation for the implementation of a long line of activities geared towards the realization of the inclusion of the Philippine eagle habitat in the UNESCO protected areas in the world,” Gov. Bulut stressed.
Initially, he disclosed some 15 Philippine eagles have been sighted in Calanasan town which are within the thickly forested area of the locality while an inventory is still being conducted on how many Philippine eagles are in the other municipalities of Apayao.
Bulut claimed that Apayao is one of the few provinces in the country with an approved forest land use plan (FLUP) that is why efforts are being done by the provincial government to empower the newly elected barangay officials in the province’s 142 barangays to strictly monitor the activities of the residents in their areas of jurisdiction so as not to affect the current state of the virgin forests provincewide.
He said development is inevitable because of the increasing population aggravated by migration but the putting in place of the necessary regulations will greatly help in reducing the impact of man-made activities to the current state of the environment and efforts to preserve and protect the virgin forest for the benefit of the present and future generations.
Under Apayao’s approved FLUP, slash and burn farming is prohibited in slopes having more than 18 degrees of elevation so that the forest cover of the place will be preserved, enhanced and protected to guarantee the existence of the virgin forests in the province even up to the next century.
Apayao is considered as the last frontier of nature in Northern Luzon because of the existence of vast tracks of virgin forests proivincewide that helps maintain a good state of the environment and abundant wildlife, thus, people are being enticed to frequently visit the places in the province for nature exposure.