TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang is seeking for the establishment of the specific forest limit of Kalinga to ensure its preservation and conservation for the greater welfare of the public.
House Bill (HB) 4119 authored by Congressman Mangaoang states that it is the policy of the State to conserve, protect and develop the forest resources of the country to attain ecological balance, preserve valuable ecosystems, preserve environmental degradation, and promote sustainable development for the people.
To achieve this end, Section 4 of the Philippine Constitution mandates Congress to determine by law the specific limits of forest lands, marking clearly their boundaries on the ground among others.
Under the proposed law, the permanent forest estate of Kalinga is composed of 1 block of upland forest land with an aggregate area of 208,326.26 hectares, more or less.
Further, a strip of 20 meters on both sides of rivers, creeks and lakes shall be retained for forest purposes. The said areas shall not be subject to titling and are beyond human commerce.
Immediately after the passage of the law, Mangaoang pointed out that the final forest line determined under the same shall be adopted as the specific forest limits of Kalinga.
The bill tasked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to establish the permanent boundary monuments on the ground.
According to him, the permanent forest land established pursuant to the law shall not be diminished nor reduced, except by an act of Congress. The DENR, in coordination with all agencies and branches of the government, shall ensure the forest cover and vegetation therein shall be protected, preserved and enhanced.
Mangaoang claimed that the DENR Secretary is mandated by the proposal to include in the agency’s program the implementation of this measure, the funding of which shall be included in the annual general appropriations law.
At present, Kalinga is richly endowed with natural resources and forest products. The proposed natural reserves, being the main sources of livelihood and food production in the province, are slowly succumbing to alleged destructive human exploitations.
Moreover, Mangaoaong explained that the forest land and their uses have reportedly changed over time, thus, it is imperative to identify the limits for forestry purposes vis-à-vis environmental protection and the requirements for development.
He asserted that his proposed law seeks to realize the relevant constitutional mandates to preserve and conserve the remaining forest cover of the province to prevent further degradation and to advance sustainable development by establishing the specific forest limits and boundaries of Kalinga.
The 3-term lawmaker expressed hope that the proposed law will already be enacted during the 19th Congress before he will be graduating as the province’s representative to the Lower House to sustain the efforts to preserve and protect the province’s environment.