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PIA Press Release

Cordillera leaders urge reforesting the "indigenous way"

by L. Lopez

Tabuk City, Kalinga (29 August) -- Cordillera leaders who met here recently believed there is a "Cordillera way" of reforesting the region's watershed reservations areas, that they recommend government should pattern its massive reforestation activities.

Balbalan Mayor Allen Jessie Mangaoang revealed their practice of planting native species of trees along the Balbalan-Abra area, which he claimed is more effective against erosion than the species recommended by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Mangaoang even talked of the current project of their municipality of propagating what he said are the indigenous species of trees, coming from the same trees growing along the protected areas.

There are observations that the "indigenous species" are more fit to the environmental need of the Cordillera against soil erosion and water shed preservation, while the DENR tree species provide answers to other needs on lumber.

It was also observed that the "paper tree" that has been massively distributed by the DENR seems to consume high supply of water.

Abra Provincial Planning and Development Officer Philip Tingonon batted that government should pattern its reforestation program from the old indigenous system of people living along water shed areas in the region.

The system of these indigenous peoples in protecting and preserving their water sheds have tested time and other elements of the environment, that is why we have today plenty of water and other forest resource to use, Tingonon claimed.

He recommends that part of the P30M Cordillera autonomy movement fund should be used for "indigenizing" the Cordillera water shed preservation program. If we can come up with a blend of government-people program of protecting water sheds in the Cordilleras, we can cut short the 103 years time frame of rehabilitating our forests, Tingonon said.

Let us try to consult our indigenous groups on this effort because they have used since time immemorial effective forest management system that have protected our forest from soil erosion, Tingonon explained.

The proposal will be presented in the forthcoming inter-regional forest management summit among regions 1, 2 and CAR, this December. (PIA Kalinga) [top]

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