BAUKO, Mountain Province – The municipal government continues to pioneer in watershed preservation and protection efforts with the establishment of green firelines along tourism trails to serve as beautification of the trails and as a measure to curb forest fires, especially during the dry months.
Mayor Abraham B. Akilit said local government workers, students and residents have pooled their resources to realize the beautification of the existing tourism trails by establishing the needed green firelines through the propagation of succulent and green plants that serve as a buffer zone of the planted assorted tree species planted within the forests.
“We sought the assistance of officials and employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to collaborate on the implementation of the said program but we never received any response from them. We invited them to attend the launching of the program but none of them dared to attend or help us so we are be left alone doing the project,” Mayor Akilit stressed.
Under the program initiated by the local government, hundreds of volunteers are required to plant succulent and green plants on the sides of the tourism trails having an area of at least 3 meters from the said trails.
However, Akilit explained the established green firelines will be expanded through the years depending on the availability of planting materials produced in the different nurseries of the municipality.
According to him, the program was implemented in Mount Amo, a potential tourist destination, and that one side of the trail is already fully covered with the green plants while the other side is nearing completion.
Akilit said the establishment of green firelines will be replicated in the other barangays of the municipality to help deter forest fires and establish the necessary fire prevention measures to sustain the efforts to preserve and protect the remaining forest cover of the watersheds that host the town’s barangays.
Akilit has been a staunch advocate for the preservation and protection of the environment tracing back to his similar advocacy of planting trees in watershed areas while he was the regional director of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in the Cordillera and he sustained that advocacy when elected as the town’s local chief executive.
He said relevant offices of the local government are now conducting the needed updating of the tourism trails around the municipality where the green firelines will be established so that there will be a continuous implementation of the project to improve the state of the watersheds in the different barangays.
Akilit asserted residents in the different barangays need to do their job in maintaining the thick forest cover of their places by preventing further encroachments in the forested areas so that the present and future generations of Cordillerans will be able to enjoy the benefits of having trees that thrive in their places.