The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Ilocos Norte expressed alarm on the rampant practice of “slash and burn” in this eco-tourism destination of the north.
During a tree planting program participated by the DENR on Saturday together with members of the Philippine National Police and a non-government organization, forester Estrella “Baby” Sacro, expressed her dismay on the rampant practice of slash and burn in the said municipality as seen by her naked eyes during the activity.
Overlooking a lush forest and streams that surround a population of less than 2,000 or a total of 269 households based on the latest survey, the one-barangay town of Adams located east of Pagudpud has a wildlife critical habitat as declared in December 2013 by the DENR.
This covers a 3,250-hectare forest described as the “last frontier of dipterocarp forest” in the province and home to several threatened species like the country’s falconet, hanging parakeet, brown deer and warty pig.
As stated in DENR Administrative Order No. 2013-23 signed by then Secretary Ramon Paje, the Adams Wildlife Critical Habitat should be free from destructive activities like dumping of wastes, illegal occupation of parts of the habitat, quarrying, mineral exploration and extraction including burning and logging.
According to Sacro, the threat of slash and burn technique or the clearing of forest land for agriculture and involves the cutting of vegetation and setting it alight is “very alarming” as a developing country like the Philippines is currently battling climate change.
“Adams, being one of the most beautiful places in Ilocos Norte blessed with a picturesque scenery should be well taken care of, and protected from damage to landscape and natural aesthetic,” said Sacro as she wrote a letter on Monday addressed to the governor seeking for his intervention to save Adams from further destruction.
According to Sacro, Adams residents should refrain from the cheap slash and burn practice and adopt some environment-friendly agriculture practices to earn for a living.
The ENRO under the provincial government of Ilocos Norte is currently on the forefront of leading green revolution program, urging all local residents to make all idle lots in the province to be planted with more fruit-bearing trees and indigenous trees as a source of livelihood and at the same time protect Ilocos Norte’s remaining forest reserved. (PNA)