Fabian seeks protection of Zambo’s watershed PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 December 2011 17:03

District 2 Congressman Erbie A. Fabian yesterday said that the tragedy in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities caused by Tropical Storm Sendong which triggered unprecented floods that killed more than 200 people should serve as warning for Zamboanga City, especially in protecting and preserving its forests.

Experts blamed forest denudation and real estate development for the floods in Cagayan de Oro (5 feet floodwater in the city proper).

Fabian said the Cagayan de Oro and Iligan tragedy underscored the relevance of the bill (House Bill 00422) he sponsored in the House of Representatives which seeks to establish the Pasonanca Watershed Forest Reserve as a protected area under the category of natural park and its peripheral areas as buffer zone.

The lawmaker said that if enacted into law, the bill will ensured the total protection of the Pasonanca forest reserve which is one of the few remaining ones in the Philippines.

“If not properly protected and preserved, there is great danger of encroachment and poaching which will lead to denudation of the Pasonanca forest,” Fabian warned.
Just recently, authorities uncovered the rampant cutting of trees in the watershed periphery which are used to produce wood charcoal that are abundant in markets and neighborhood stores.

Last month, two persons were caught cutting trees in the watershed periphery.

“Apparently the watershed is not fully protected as shown by rampant poaching. We lack forest guards and there is no proper management of the forests,” Fabian lamented.

Fabian’s bill provides management of the watershed with the creation of an office with sole responsibility to look after it.

The congressman said he will lobby more for the passage of his watershed bill so that Zamboanga City will have a protected watershed and will not experience what the people of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan have experienced last week.

Fabian’s bill has been appproved the House of Representatives. It is now under deliberation in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources under its chairman Senator Chiz Escudero.

Another bill authored by Fabian that is also very relevant is House Bill 00423 which seeks to establish the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands as a protected area under the category of protected landscape and seascape and the peripheral areas as buffer zones.