Rehab sought on Bukidnon’s Mt. Kitanglad

The four officials were asked to allocate at least P1 million each for reforestation and rehabilitation of the mountain, which was declared a protected area in 2000 by Republic Act 8978.

The resolution did not specify, however, how the allocation would be allocated.
 
As a protected area, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was supposed to get annual budget from the national government to maintain, conserve and rehabilitate the mountain, a source from a non-government agency working in the area, said.
 
This was confirmed by an environment official. "Very minimal allocation is downloaded to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) from the General Appropriations Act every year so we rely on the local government," said Agustin Lilangan, a desk officer at the Protected Area Superintendent office.  

He said the resolution was endorsed by the park's Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).
 
The resolution, considered "urgent", cited "an impetus necessity" for restoration of the 8,500 hectares remaining areas to be reforested to meet the park's 40 percent forest cover.  
 
Board member Rogelio Lago (First district), who introduced the resolution to the board, said it's a priority concern over what he called a "very alarming situation" in the protected area.

Lago, a former mayor of Baungon town, one of the eight local governments straddling the park, said Mt. Kitanglad "needs real funding for rehabilitation and reforestation" saying that "at stake are both the lives of the flora and fauna stocks in the park".
 
Lago said officials could take the opportunity to show their environmentalist positions by training their eyes on Mt. Kitanglad's situation.
 
He said the governor could convene the mayors of the local government units concerned to raise the funds.

Lilangan said however, that the LGUs could only shell out so much, with only the city government of Malaybalay, able to give P1.5 million for the city's barangays within the park, and the provincial government, at P1 million for the Kitanglad Guard Volunteers.
 
He said other LGUs were allocating only from P100, 000 to P150, 000 annually.
 
The 47,270-hectare park is identified as the head water source of the Pulangui, Tagoloan and Cagayan rivers, three of Mindanao's most vital rivers. It is also the "homeland" of the Talaandig, Higa-onon and Bukidnon tribes.   

The park covers the north central part of the Bukidnon plateau including eight of Bukidnons 22 towns and cities. The towns of Talakag, Baungon, Libona, Manolo Fortich, Sumilao, Impasugong and Lantapan and the City of Malaybalay are covered. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)

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