NEW YORK (MindaNews / 22 March) — Mt. Busa is now officially declared a Local Conservation Area (LCA) by virtue of Resolution No. 2020-10- 042 passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Sarangani dated March 10, 2020.
This historic action of the legislative body of Sarangani was a result of the issuance of a directive from Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon creating the Mt. Busa Task Force/Technical Working Group headed by ECPC Director Cornelio Ramirez Jr. The Task Force recommended the declaration of Mt. Busa as an LCA based on scientific studies done and after consultation with Indigenous People communities and stakeholders.
The resolution states among others that Mt. Busa is the “last remaining mountain ecosystem of Region 12” which serves as a habitat of the Philippine Eagle, Visayan Hornbill, Philippine Deer, Tarsier and other vulnerable and endangered flora and fauna. Just recently, a Philippine Eagle named Maasim Sarangani Pride was rescued and joins another eagle Sarangani Pride which was also rescued in Maitum to fly freely in a protected habitat. Locals reports sightings of eagles, kalaw, deer and tarsier in the area.
Mt. Busa is a Key Bio-diversity Area (KBA116), an Important International Bird Area (PH 0105) and connects Priority Conservation Areas (CPA 147,148,149, 150) where the Team of Kier Pitogo (UP) also documented rare frog species.
Mt. Busa has sustained lives and livelihoods of the people of MAKIMA and neighboring towns, It’s function as watershed is of prime importance. While other parts are experiencing drought, MAKIMA enjoys occasional rain.
A resolution of support was passed by the Kiamba Sarangani Development Foundation, Inc, (KSDFI) which have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Province of Sarangani. to help bring to fuition the dream of many Sarangans from the Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum (MAKIMA) Area. MSUeVillage International Northeastern USA also passed a resolution of support to the initiative and has partnered with local schools for development efforts.
In a phone interview, Dr. Ali Hadji Nasser, the present CENR Officer (DENR-MAKIMA), vowed to work hard for Mt. Busa to become a Protected Landscape through Presidential Proclamation and inclusion in the eNIPAS by Congress. He is grateful for the ground work laid down by former DENR Regional Director Nilo Tamoria, the support of incumbent Regional Executive Director Dr. Sabdullah C. Abubacar, CESO IV and the overwhelming support he continues to receive from stakeholders. The IPs of Sarangani consider Dr. Nasser to “have an IP heart”
Datu Francisco Wali (Gambon Supreme Council-IPO) expressed his happiness of a dream come true to protect Mt. Busa for the future generations. “Saving Mt. Busa is saving our culture and our future, ” Datu Wali said. He enjoins all IPs to work together for common good.
Sarangans lauded the political will of the incumbent Steve C. Solon whose mother, former Governor Priscilla Chiongbian was responsible for the declaration of Sarangani Bay and the waters of Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum as a Protected Seascape.through Presidential Proclamation No. 756 (1996).
” Now, the hearts of Sarangans are at rest. We are grateful to everyone who made this happen “, KSDFI Dr. Agnes Quinto Sinocruz (Chaiman of the Board) and Dr. Renato de la Cruz (President) said in a joint statement. [MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Carolina Villanueva Peralta of Kiamba, Sarangani, presently resides in New York but is actively involved in development efforts in Sarangani. She serves as Secretary for two US non-profit organizations whose flagship includes the Organic Seedball Initiative which aims to “eliminate hunger and reclaim our collective future one seed at a time”.
An advocate for sustainable development and care for the environment, she has served in government, the health care industry and now in education, her first vocation.
She finished her Masters in Development degree at the Asian Institute of Management]