Muripaga Umpar, regional technical director for forestry of DENR Region 12, said in a press statement that they are on track towards the completion of the survey and assessment of some 2,003 kilometers of forestland boundaries in the region by the end of the year.
He said seven regional assessment and delineation (RAD) teams have been deployed in the four provinces of Region 12 to implement the survey.
The region covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Cotabato, General Santos, Kidapawan, Koronadal and Tacurong.
Umpar said the survey primarily seeks to ensure the protection and sustainable development of forestlands, natural parks and agricultural lands in the area.
He said it is also part of the DENR’s 2009 priority thrust of poverty reduction and hunger mitigation introduced by Secretary Lito Atienza.
Raquil-Ali Lucman, DENR Region 12 executive director, assured that his office will fully implement the program on forestland boundary assessment and delineation this year.
“We need to stop once and for all the continued encroachment of our forestlands. For years, our forest line had been continuously receding, thus resulting in ecological imbalance and loss of biodiversity,” he said.
Lucman said that through the program, they will be able to determine the final forest line and facilitate the placement of concrete markers or “mojon” on the ground.
“The teams will also assess the best land use of the areas that will be traversed by the survey so that Congress can make the necessary legislation (for them),” Lucman explained.
Mayolo Villame, RAD team leader, said they have so far surveyed 590 kilometers of forestland boundaries in Sultan Kudarat and 111 kilometers in North Cotabato.
He said the RAD teams will soon begin the survey and assessment of 796 kilometers of forestland boundaries in South Cotabato and 506 kilometers in Sarangani.
Villame said the Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato stretches of forest lines are lined up for assessment this year by the RAD teams, which are now doing the computation and drawing of the maps of the survey areas.
“After the assessment, the teams will also prepare the draft bills should there be areas that will be recommended for classification by Congress to other land uses,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)