BAUKO, Mountain Province December 10 – The Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) directed the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs) of Benguet and Mountain Province to work out the confiscation of illegally installed water pumps within the Mount Data National Park to prevent the depletion of water resources within the forest reservation.
Engr. Ralph Pablo, DENR-CAR regional executive director, made the directive to the PENROs upon the complaint of Mayor Abraham B. Akilit who claimed that unscrupulous vegetable farm owners continue to defy environment laws and regulations by putting up additional water pumps within critical portions of the watershed that result to the depletion of water supply.
The Mount Data National Park has a total land area of more than 5,000 hectares that strands from Tublay, Benguet up to the capital town of Bontoc with most of the reservation already converted into commercial vegetable farms.
While people form part of the biodiversity, Pablo asserted that there is a need for them to comply with the environmental laws being implemented by concerned government agencies in coordination with the local governments and law enforcement agencies among others.
Mayor Akilit complained that from only one water pump installed by farmers within the forest reservation, the number of illegally installed water pumps in the area have increased because farmers believe that concerned agencies are not taking the necessary actions to rid the watershed of illegal water pumps.
He said concerned agencies must immediately act on the complaint of the municipal government on the illegal installation of water pumps within critical portions of the watershed to send a clear message to the farmers that their actions are illegal and that there are no sacred farmers who contribute to the overwhelming damages inflicted to the reservation.
It was learned that the municipal government was able to abate the rampant proliferation of water pumps within the different portions of the watershed but now that there was a temporary lull in the local government’s campaign, many farmers have taken advantage of the situation.
Pablo cited PENRO officers and employees must sustain the campaign against massive deforestation being done in identified critical watersheds and the unscrupulous installation of water pumps that contribute to the rapid deterioration of water in some of its water resources to gain the trust and confidence of the people that concerned agencies are doing their respective assigned tasks for the preservation and protection of the forest reservation.