DENR to intensify forest protection in upper Marikina river basin

Published January 11, 2021, 2:35 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 4-A has expressed strong opposition to the illegal activities in Masungi Georeserve located within the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMBRPL) in Rizal province.

In a statement, DENR-Calabarzon, together with the DENR Office for Special Concerns, Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force, Rizal Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, and Philippine National Police vowed to enforce intensified forest protection activities, such as continuous conduct of the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System, a web-based mobile application to patrol the area.

It also committed to enhance the National Greening Program (NGP) sites with continuous planting of indigenous tree species.

DENR-Calabarzon also aims to convert graduated NGP sites into a strict protection zone.

Likewise, the DENR regional office is looking at collaborative capacity-building activities with the indigenous peoples, and intensification of information, education, and communication campaign against various harmful activities, such as charcoal making and illegal tree cutting.

The DENR and its partners have committed to closely coordinate with the Masungi Georeserve Foundation regarding any additional protection and conservation initiatives in the area.

It urged the public to report illegal activities in the area.

Masungi Georeserve has repeatedly reported the presence of private guards patrolling and attempting to occupy the area last year.

Protected areas like the Upper Marikina Watershed and Masungi Wildlife Sanctuary are environmentally critical areas and are main sources of biodiversity, maintaining the ecosystem and providing natural processes of the land.  

Disturbances to such conservation areas threaten flora and fauna and water resources, which could affect the food and water supply in the country.