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Cadiz sets guidelines to protect NNNP areas

• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Alarmed by the proliferation of illegal structures within the multi-use zone of the Northern Negros Natural Park located within the jurisdiction of Cadiz City, Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. yesterday said that the Local Conservation Authority is formulating guidelines to govern the use of its natural resources.

With 80 percent of the road having been concreted, including those in the hinterlands of the city, Escalante said it attracts many people who started to explore new tourist destination areas of Cadiz City, while others started to build structures without securing permits from concerned government agencies.

He also noted waste being dumped in rivers by tourists.

Escalante, who met with members of the Local Conservation Team, stressed the need for being proactive, rather than going after the violators.

“They violated the law because they do not know what to do. If we have ground rules, they will follow it,” the mayor said.

Escalante also called on barangay officials in Cadiz City to be aware of their obligations, noting they are the ones who endorse the construction of any structure in their respective barangays, which is needed in securing a building permit.

We encourage tourism, but in a controlled manner, in order to enjoy the natural resources of Cadiz City, he stressed.

In a report on Wednesday, the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that a notice of violation (NOV) and stoppage of an illegal construction was issued within Sitio Pakol, Barangay Celestino Villacin in Cadiz City.

Escalante also reported the construction of another structure in the area was also stopped by DENR, and charges have been filed against its owner.

Under Section 18 of Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act, it is unlawful for any person to occupy or dwell in any public land within the protected area without clearance from the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), and such could warrant a fine of P200,000 to P1 million and/or imprisonment of one to six years.

“The case should also serve as a reminder to the public not to just to put up any structures on land that you don’t own,” Escalante said.

The city government is mobilizing 100 Bantay Bukid members who have been trained as forest rangers, in their campaign to protect the environment.*

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