THE Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), Euro Generics International Philippines (EGIP) Foundation, and Bantay Bukid volunteers called for appropriate action to stop the clearing of forested areas in Sitio Kalatong, Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City. The forested area is considered a significant part of Panigan-Tamugan Watershed, the City’s future source of drinking water.
Rampant illegal cutting of trees in the Sitio Kalatong since 2018
In a letter submitted to the office of the City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Atty. Zuleika T. Lopez, Vice-Chair of Watershed Management Council (WMC), the three environmental groups reported concerns during their monitoring visits to the site.
On August 21-22, 2018, the EGIP Foundation, Obo-Manobo Forest Guards, and City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) reported forest clearing, illegal cutting of trees, and timber harvesting. They also noted the unauthorized building of structures.
In December 2019, the forest guards also reported that more forested areas were cleared.
According to EGIP’s Field Biologist Joshua Donato, they reported the incident through a letter to the Watershed Management Council (WMC), the City Mayor’s Office, NCIP XI, DENR XI, and Obu-Manuvu Unified Ancestral Domain Tribal Council of Leaders/Elders as early as 2018.
In response, the CENRO called the concerned parties for a hearing. Datu Rubin Enangcob said he has several documents proving that they owned the land. He also denied cutting the trees in the area and doing any illegal activities in the area.
On March 16-20, 2019, the clearing of the forested area continued. Bantay Bukid volunteers recorded these incidences while doing their monitoring activity in Sitio Kalatong. EGIP again reported the incident to the same agencies and was given assurance that they will investigate the matter.
Forest Clearing for Human Settlements
In the recent webinar organized by IDIS and the City Development Council entitled, ‘Hisgutanang Tubig sa Dabaw: Things We Need to Know About Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project’ last June 30, 2021, Datu Lipatuan Joel A. Unad, Chairman of Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Conference for Peace and Development, confirmed the rampant forest clearing in Kalatong and around 200 establishments have mushroomed in the area since 2018. He also added that these new “settlers” are not indigenous peoples. Datu Unad also expressed concerns that wastes from these settlements would eventually find their way to our waters.
“Ang Konseho sa Lungsod sa Davao nagmugna og ordinansa sa pagdeklara og mga area nga watershed. Mga uluhan sa mga kasapaan aron dili mahubsan ang katubigan sama sa Panigan River, Kalatong River, Kabinuangan River, Laling River, Tamugan River aron adunay mainum ang mga tao sa tibuok Davao City. Apan pag-abot ug lima ka tuig gikan karon hubas na kining maong mga sapa. Una ang kabukiran, upaw na kay hangtud karon padayon ang mga nagsulod pag galas, pagputol ug mga kahoy. Ang Bantay Bukid halos kada bulan maghatag og report sa DENR ug sa concerned agencies apan walay gibuhat gihapon,” Datu Lipatuan Unad said.
Sitio Kalatong is part of Panigan-Tamugan Watershed
The letter also revealed that GPS coordinates from the survey of EGIP Foundation in Kalatong indicate that the area is within the Conservation Zone in the Davao City Zoning Map and Environmental Critical Area of the Watershed Code of Davao City. Thus, clearing of the forested area and constructing structures and facilities in the area are violations of the Watershed Code.
“Sitio Kalatong is a significant part of Panigan-Tamugan Watershed, and we at IDIS, together with other environmental groups, condemn the environmental violations happening in the area. We urge the City Mayor’s Office and WMC to activate the IATF Kalatong to monitor and investigate the environmental violations in the area and recommend to the concerned agencies the possible actions to address the concerns,” Atty. Mark T. Peñalver, IDIS Executive Director, expressed.
ATTY. MARK PENALVER
Executive Director, IDIS
JIMBEA U. LUCINO
Culture-based Conservation Program Manager, PEF
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