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Lejos bats for more education of mangroves preservation
« on: September 17, 2009, 04:14:15 AM »
The joint-committees on environment protection chaired by board Member Ae Damalerio together with the public safety/ peace and order chaired by BM Ma. Fe Camacho-Lejos have found during a Friday committee hearing that misconceptions and lack of education on how to preserve mangroves have caused rampant illegal cuttings.

Second district board member Lejos, a native of Getafe, where the world renowned Banacon Island mangroves plantation is located, said planters of mangroves have the misconception that they are the owners and have the right to cut these marine protective trees, even without permits from authorities.

“Some of these planters have inherited the mangroves plantation sites from their grandparents and they think they owned it. Mangroves trunks are sold as firewood and are very much in demand by the bakery business,” Lejos told the STANDARD after the Friday joint-committee hearing.

“Under the law, these people who illegally cut these mangroves can be charged. Pero looy man sad kaayo kay sagad ani panginabuhi man. Unsaon naman ug magutom ug wana silay makaon ( but it is also a pity to know that the cutting is for their sustainance. What if they get hungry with nothing to it),” Lejos added.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer Nestor Canda reported that they have apprehended illegal mangrove cutters last week and DENR is to file cases against them.

Canda was not present during the committee hearing but instead sent Talibon Community Environment Officer Alejandro Estopa in his place.

Lejos particularly asked for an investigation on the alleged illegal cutting of mangroves in Banacon Island, (considered the biggest in Asia with an estimated 425 hectares mangrove forest), after the cutting was published by the FREEMAN regional newspaper the other week.

The newspaper report told of rampant cutting in the mangrove in Banacon Island and the local government allegedly not doing anything about it. The news item carried with it actual photos of cuttings found on the spot by Engr. Romy Cabading of the Knights Stewards of the Sea, a non-government organization.

Cabading reported that at the rate the mangroves are cut, these trees will all be gone by 2016 or in six years time.

Getafe Mayor Teresa Camacho is in the United States while the town’s OIC mayor did not attend the committee hearing and did not also send any of her representatives from LGU-Getafe.

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