By Patrick Garcia
The Masungi Georeserve announced Monday that it has recorded numerous forest fires that have ravaged the unprotected mountain areas in Antipolo and Tanay, Rizal.
“Last night, our team recorded forest fires around the Antipolo and Tanay areas,” they wrote in a Facebook post Monday.
“The call for vigilance for our forests extends not only to threats of quarrying and illegal logging, but also of forest fires as we enter the dry season.”
The Georeserve said the fires were most probably caused by humans either intentionally (for kaingin or charcoal production) or unintentionally (through negligence or carelessness).
“Many times, burned forests and degraded lands pave the way for land grabbing, conversion, and unsustainable development when people say that ‘burned lands are no longer forest lands.’ But this should never be the norm, as restoring degraded lands represents one of the most effective ways to combat climate change,” they added.
“At the frontlines of forest protection, we continue to defend Masungi and surrounding areas against fires and attempts of quarrying amid the lockdown. Now is the time to heighten forest protection all over the country,” the Georeserve added.
The Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area in the Philippines situated in the Southern Sierra Madre range in Baras, Rizal.
It is centered on the geological formations of Masungi Rock and was declared a strict nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 1993. It has become a popular tourist destination after it was opened to the public in 2015.