BAUKO, Mountain Province December 31 – The greenery of the barren mountains which were ruined by illegal loggers and owners of commercial vegetable farms could be restored following the upcoming implementation of the plan of the municipal government to use the denuded forests as tea plantations to serve as one of the major sources of livelihood of the people living in the villages hosting huge portions of the Mount Data National Park, Mayor Abraham B. Akilit said here.
Akilit said the municipality is currently gathering planting materials from the various varieties of green and red tea which will be planted in barren portions of the over 5,000-hectare endangered forest reservation in order to bring back the greenery of the denuded mountains and provide local residents with sustainable sources of livelihood beneficial to the host communities.
“We have to provide people living in the communities with additi8onal sources of livelihood like the production of green or red tea so that they will not be tempted to expand their existing commercial farms into the utapped and undisturbed portions of the watershed,” Akilit stressed.
He said one of the major programs of the municipal government is to provide local residents with sustainable sources of livelihood, including the potential market of their products, in order to convince them not to expand their commer4cial vegetable farms into the watershed and empower them to be the ones to guard the undisturbed portions of the watershed from future encroachers while helping bring back the greenery of the \Cordillera mountain ranges.
Mayor Akilit believes there is an untapped market for the green and red tea varieties, especially among health conscious people that is why the municipal government thought of utilizing the denuded portions of the watershed as tea plantation areas for the benefit of also promoting the consumption of the green and red tea varieties among the populace.
According to him, people should be aware of the curative effects of tea, especially the fresh leaves of the plant, so that they will feel relaxed as they start their hectic schedule for the day.
“Bauko the luxury of having vast tracks of denuded portions of the Mount Data watershed that is why we thought of maximizing the use of the available spaces for productive purposes, especially among those living in the areas, so that they will not be contributory to the destruction of the environment,” he said.
The local chief executive said the municipal government will try its best to make available the planting materials to interested groups from the 22 barangays of the town so that they will be able to start planting green and red tea varieties in their places while the local government will look for high-end markets for their products aside from sustaining the local supply of the tea for domestic and commercial consumption in the region.
He called on barangay officials and local residents to value the importance of the introduction of new sources of livelihood for them so that they will not solely rely on commercial vegetable farming as their main source of livelihood, citing that having alternative sources of income will make them productive and responsible citizens of their respective villages.