After nearly three years in the Third Reading, the ordinance that establishes the 8,227 hectares of forest land in Gabaldon as an area for conservation and wildlife protection (a.k.a. Critical Habitats) moves closer to its passage as law as a result of community negotiations.
In 2014, environmental group Haribon Foundation confirmed in an expedition the sightings of an adult pair and a juvenile Philippine Eagle in the Mingan mountains. Since then, consultations with stakeholders have been done to develop sustainable solutions that will protect the home of Philippine Eagles in Luzon.
Working with Communities
Ten target barangays comprised of Pinamalisan, Cuyapa, Sawmill, South Poblacion, North Poblacion, Macasandal, Malinao, Ligaya, Pantoc and Tagumpay participated in the community dialogue in January-February 2017 to map Critical Habitat areas and discuss action plans.
Led by the Haribon Foundation, the community consultation co-facilitated by representatives from different local agencies and village groups aimed to gather communities and facilitate a dialogue with key actors in the local government.
During the discussion, citizens lamented on the lack of strong law enforcement and rampant illegal forest activities. For the past three years, Gabaldon has been prone to landslides and flashfloods. Non-stop deforestation has brought dry spells and has aggravated extreme weather effects.
“We owe to the mountains our very source of survival – our steady supply of clean water and fresh air,” said Noel Resurreccion, Haribon project manager. “By protecting Mt. Mingan, we are also protecting the future of Gabaldon and its people.”
To date, all 10 barangays situated around the mountain range have pledged their support to prioritize the protection and restoration of the Mingan mountains. Each barangay committed to set aside funds for tree nurseries from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) or the share of revenues from the Philippine government.
“I have never had this kind of community dialogue where I got to understand the different programs of our local government and how we can take action together. Thank you for hearing us out,” Pagaragan added.
“Consultation with communities is key to our conservation work,” said Resurreccion. “We believe that communities are the primary bearers of information about development issues. With proper guidance and enhanced capacities, they become better stewards of their unique resources.”
For more in formation, please visit the Haribon website: www.haribon.org.ph