LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government will pursue the fencing of various communal forests and watersheds located in different parts of the municipality to help preserve and protect the town’s forest cover and major source of water from further encroachments by informal settlers.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda disclosed that among the watersheds being programmed for fencing include the Shilan, Alapang and Puguis communal forests where funds have already been made available for the implementation of the said fencing although the money that have been earmarked might not be sufficient to complete the projects.
The Shilan communal forest has a land area of more or less 49 hectares, the Alapang communal forest is approximately 57 hectares wide while the Puguias communal forest covers more or less 60 hectares.
The local chief executive underscored that it is important to establish the metes and bounds of the various communal forests and subsequently fence the same to prevent informal settlers from encroaching into the watersheds as the same might affect the town’s sources of water and the overall state of the environment.
According to him, the initial funds that have been earmarked by the local government seems to be not enough to simultaneously implement the fencing of all the existing watersheds in the municipality that is why the project will have to be done based on priority where the priority will be done at the Shilan communal forest.
Mayor Salda explained that the efforts to preserve and protect the town’s environment is for the benefit of the future generations of inhabitants for them to enjoy the fruits of a good state of the environment that was passed on to them.
He asserted that the local government will still be aggressive in the dismantling of illegal structures that had been constructed within forests and watersheds with the assistance of the residents in the 16 barangays to send a clear message to the people that the forests must be preserved and protected and not to be encroached.
Aside from the fencing of the watersheds, one of the programs, projects and activities of the local government relative to environmental preservation and protection is the conduct of tree planting, tree caring and weeding to ensure that the planted tree species in the different reservations will grow to serve their purpose of erosion control among others.
La Trinidad is serving as the center of education, trade and commerce in Benguet that is why people from the rural communities migrate to the capital town to look for available jobs and sustainable sources of livelihood to uplift the living condition of their families that had been left behind in the countryside.
Environmental preservation and protection is one of the major components of disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation because of the vulnerabilities of communities to the unpredictable water condition that is now affecting most countries in the different parts of the world over the past several years.
Highly elevated areas in the municipality are considered to be landslide-prone while low-lying areas are also prone to flooding during the occurrence of heavy downpour.