BANTAY Bukid volunteers in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District were equipped with 241 new uniforms, raincoats, patrol boots, rash guards, polo shirts, and hard hats by the city government.
Edgardo Batenga, Bantay Bukid coordinator of the Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC), said that the uniforms and other protective gears are a big help to the volunteers for their patrol routine in the rainforests.
“It symbolizes the integrity and authority of the Bantay Bukid to implement environmental laws,” he said.
Batenga also said that equipping the volunteers shows Davao City is serious in its campaign on environmental protection, particularly the rainforests and the city’s watershed.
He emphasized the need to strengthen the city’s campaign on the protection of the environment, especially that there are still people violating laws despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“Some people took advantage of the pandemic, but we do not cease our patrolling routine and follow health protocols while we do our work,” Batenga said.
Bae Joan Mando-on, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Barangay Carmen and one of the Bantay Bukid volunteers, was thankful to the city government for the provision of the equipment and uniforms.
“Gihatagan mig pagtagan nga mamahimo nga mahatagan mig katungod sa pag protekta sa among kalasangan so isip usa ka mga IP dako kaayo mig pasalamat (We are given the chance and the right to protect our rainforests and as IPs, we are truly grateful),” she said.
The city government of Davao partnered with the Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS) and the Philippine Eagle Foundation in the formation of the Bantay Bukid volunteers, as well as providing them with incentives.
They serve as forest rangers and look after the hinterlands of the city, including river sources, to ensure that the environment will be preserved.