PENRO-Bukidnon warned against granting questionable land instruments

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 December) – The new head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Bukidnon has been warned against granting irregular land use and tenure instruments.

Without naming names Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. alleged that this was the practice of the past administrations at the PENRO.

“Don’t follow their decision, don’t give special treatments,” Zubiri told Felix S. Mirasol Jr., the new Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, during the provincial board’s session on Thursday.

The vice governor cited as examples lands that form part of ancestral domains that have allegedly been granted to politicians, portions of buffer zones being developed into privately-owned tourist attractions, and the “irregular extension” of the terms of pasture lease agreements.

He said the expired pasture lease agreements held by “big people” in the province should be decided already in favor of the small claimants.

“That’s a very big task Gov, but with your support we can (do it),” Mirasol replied.

The new PENRO chief also told the board that his office aims to increase Bukidnon’s forest cover from 24 percent to the ideal 40 percent.

He said they intend to restore 5,000 hectares of denuded lands this year under the National Greening Program of the Aquino administration to help achieve the desired increase in forest cover.

Mirasol said many areas of Mindanao rely on the province’s watershed.

He further vowed to work to ensure biodiversity conservation.  He cited the efforts to protect and conserve Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Kalatungan protected areas and the Pantaron Range.

Mirasol last month assumed the post vacated by Agustilo Obsioma, who was appointed as the regional technical director for forestry. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)