LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government is gaining headway in its efforts to gradually rid the Puguis communal forest of informal settlers and claimants that has compromised efforts to sustain the preservation and protection of the town’s major source of potable water caused by the occupation of this watershed.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda said that the recent decision of the Supreme Court (SC) denying the petition of alleged purported claimants seeking the titling of portions of the watershed should send a clear message to other interested individuals that the forest reservation should not be possessed by private individuals, thus, they should not try their luck to put up structures because the municipal government will be constrained to dismantle these.
He pointed out that the presence of the watershed allows a balancing factor in the town’s environment against the influx of people into the municipality mostly due to economic needs.
The Puguis communal forest is one of the 5 communal watersheds in the municipality which is a major source of water for the residents aside from balancing the state of the environment with the evident effects of climate change being felt such as much stronger weather disturbances and unpredictable weather conditions.
The municipal chief executive claimed that his administration will not allow informal settlers to invade the watershed because it is one of the few remaining pine stands in the municipality that provides the residents with adequate supply of potable water, among other benefits.
Mayor Salda said that the municipal government is doing its best to ensure the preservation and protection of the Puguis communal forest to avoid this from being invaded by informal settlers that may cause the eventual deterioration of its state once structures will be constructed in the various portions of the watershed.
According to him, numerous organizations in the municipality continue to conduct their tree planting and tree caring activities in the different portions of the watershed to ensure that the seedlings that have been planted will grow and serve their purposes.
He rallied concerned sectors in the municipality to intensify their environmental preservation and protection efforts by increasing their tree planting activities in various communal forests in the municipality at the appropriate time of the year and supplementing the same with their tree-caring activities during the dry season so that there will be a significant increase in the forest cover of the different reservations.
La Trinidad is the capital town of Benguet serving both as the educational center and the center of trade and commerce of the province where major economic activities are being conducted by various parties only from the Cordillera but also from the other parts of Northern Luzon.