BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan expressed opposition to a bill filed in the House of Representatives by Rep. Nicasio M. Aliping seeking for the segregation of some 3 hectares within the Forbes Park reservation for the housing requirements of qualified homelot applicants in the area, saying that the location of the property to be declared as alienable and disposable is within critical portions of the watershed.
The local chief executive explained he was able to validate from Engr. Paquito Moreno, regional executive director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR), that the location of the 3-hectare portion of the Forbes Park to be segregated under the legislative measure is between Botanical Garden and barangay Cabinet Hill-Teachers Camp.
“We are inclined to oppose the approval of the bill because the portion of Forbes Park to be declared for housing needs of the qualified homelot applicants is where numerous deep wells serving as one of the major sources of water for the city is found plus the fact that the area is also forested,” Domogan stressed.
If the proposed bill will segregate Upper Gibraltar from the Forbes Park reservation, Domogan explained he does not interpose no objection to the passage of the measure because it would just continue the uncompleted job of the former lawmaker and former Rep. Bernardo M. Vergara who had been filing bills for the segregation of Upper Gibraltar from the reservation considering that the area is already inhabited.
According to him, the proposed area ti be segregated under Aliping’s bill is virtually forested and is also the site of numerous deep wells, thus, its declaration as a housing site will definitely have a serious negative effect to the city’s state of environment and the dwindling sources of water for local residents.
The city mayor explained the city government had been consistent in opposing the segregation of portions of the Forbes Park watershed purposely for housing purposes because the sites to be segregated have been identified as heavily forested that would significantly affect the state of the city’s environment.
He disclosed he already made representations with DENR-CAR officials and the office of Rep. Aliping in order to appropriately identify the possible areas to be segregated from the reservation so that forested areas and those serving as one of the major sources of the city’s potable water supply will not be the ones to be segregated.
He cited the city government had always been consistent in opposing the segregation of portions of watersheds for housing purposes and to be declared as alienable and disposable, except for those areas that hare heavily inhabited, considering that the rapid urbanization in the city has greatly taken its toll on efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
Domogan asserted Forbes Park is one of the few forest reservations in the city which has densed tree population, thus, the need for concerned government agencies and local governments to closely work together for its preservation and protection aside from enhancing the trees in order to sustain its identity as one of the city’s premier pine stand located within the city’s central business district area.
By Dexter A. See