Environmental plea: DENR renews call for Sierra Madre's protection

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) renewed its call to protect the Sierra Madre Mountain Range (SMMR) in hopes to alleviate the effects of climate change.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu delivers a speech during a recent visit in Aurora province. (Courtesy of DENR)

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, in a statement Thursday, Jan. 13, stressed the need to strengthen forest protection in SMMR, which reduces wind speeds of destructive storms and serves as Luzon's natural barrier against strong typhoons.

The SMMR comprises roughly 1.6 million hectares and is home to the country's largest remaining tract of old-growth tropical rainforest. It is also home to hundreds of wildlife species.

"Saving this mountain range is equivalent to saving the lives of many people from damage and destruction brought by natural calamities," Cimatu said during a recebt visit in Aurora province.

On the other hand, DENR Central Luzon Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr., said the department intensified its forest protection and biodiversity conservation programs in the provinces where SMMR traverses such as Aurora, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan.

"The deployment of 130 forest rangers and protection officers in these areas not only augment our patrolling efforts but also help us guard 15 protected areas and 21 watersheds within the SMMR," he said

Moreno also said that the department likewise strengthened its drive against unregistered chainsaws in support of Cimatu's marching order of protecting standing trees in the forest areas to save the country's remaining natural resources.

According to him, the DENR put up eight forest product monitoring stations located in the entry and exit points of major routes of forest products in Pangasinan-Zambales-Bataan-Pampanga-Bulacan-Manila Road; Bataan-Pampanga Road; Manila North Road via Mc Arthur Hiway; Tarlac-Sta. Rosa Road; Quirino-Aurora Road; Cabanatuan-Bongabon Road; Dingalan-Cabanatuan Road; Dingalan-Gen. Nakar Road; and San Miguel and Norzagaray roads in Bulacan.