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PIA Press Release

Bautista bats for autonomy for better forest, watershed management

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (30 January) -- Gaining an autonomous status would definitely help the Cordillera region to mitigate and adapt to the ill effects of climate change, according to Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) private sector representative and Baguio Centennial Commission Chairman Dr. Virgilio Bautista.

Bautista said deforestation played a big factor in the issue of climate change though having an autonomous status would definitely help in reforestation, rehabilitation and preservation of the forests and watersheds.

Taking as example the Cordillera Coffee Associations, Bautista explained that if all of them have available funds, then we can propagate coffee much faster. But under the present set-up, there is very limited funds allocation from the national government for such purpose. "Through autonomy we can easily allocate a few million for coffee for a faster propagation," he pointed out.

Bautista said coffee will play a big part in the reforestation while generating income for people by planting coffee.

Bautista also stressed that more forest guards can be hired to protect the forests and the watershed under an autonomous set up. At present there is only one forest guard for every 500 hectares, which is a very low and not a good ratio, he noted.

According to Acting RDC Chairman Juan Ngalob, an autonomous state will help a lot in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

Sa ngayon ang nagagastos lang natin para dito ay iyong ibinibigay ng DENR at ibang government agencies, which are specifically earmarked for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation," Ngalob said.

Meanwhile, the Regional Development Council has approved the creation of a regional task force on climate change to fastrack the formulation of an integrated regional climate change development framework.

This will push for climate change adaptability and disaster reduction risk measures that will help preserve and protect the deteriorating forests and watersheds in the region. (PIA) [top]

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