Landmarks that determine the boundaries of the 100-hectare ADP Training Camp within Mt. Apo Natual Park has been installed through a ceremony that was conducted in October 15, 2021 at So. Teril, Brgy. Kapatagan, Davao del Sur.
Taking part on the swift ceremony were Colonel Ronnie B. Babac, Chief of Staff of the 10th Infantry Division, Brgy Captain Juanito Morales of BLGU-Kapatagan, DENR-PENRO Davao del Sur Officials- OIC PENR Officer Pablito M.Ofrecia and OIC-MANP PASU Joel S.Pardillo along with other distinguished stakeholder partners.
The 100-hectare training camp of the AFP has been approved by the multi-sectoral Protected Area Management Board of the Mt Apo Natural Park (PAMB-MANP) and its application for a SAPA (Special Use Agreement for Protected Areas) has already been submitted as mandated by DAO 2007-17 and DAO 2018-05.
The AFP Camp will not only serve as a training ground for future soldiers but will also ensure the peace, order and the security of MANP as a Protected Area. It will likewise augment the environmental conservation and protection efforts through their active role in the reforestation and rehabilitation of the said nation’s highest peak and ASEAN Heritage Site.
The Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) of the Mt Apo Natural Park led by its Parks Protection Officers and in collaboration with the Brgy. Local Government Unit of Sibulan, Davao City and the Bantay Gubat Forest Rangers recovered 30 pieces of prime BAGTIKAN lumber (𝑃𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑒𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑎𝑎𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑛) totalling to 1,098.9 board feet with an estimated value of PhP 32,967.00 last September 28, 2021.
Acting on the information provided by a concerned citizen, the PAMO team has immediately dispatched to verify the alleged timber poaching in the said Barangay within the Strict Protection Zone (SPZ) of Mt Apo Natural Park. SPZ is an area where there is high biodiversity value and is supposedly closed to all human activities except for scientific studies and/or ceremonial or religious use by indigenous cultural communities.
The team discovered the scattered lumber and flitches in a remote area of the said zone which was then transported to the the PAMO in So. Baras, Digos City. An inquiry with the Brgy. has been immediately conducted whilst there are no claimants of the said lumber to date.
Unpermitted cutting of timber products from its natural habitat is strictly prohibited under Sec 16 of RA 9237 which states that the violator will face punishments and penalties as prescribed in Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code.
More than its market value, uprooting these endangered tree species entails imbalance on ecosystem and may likewise contribute to biodiversity loss.
Bagtikan is an endemic tree species under the family Dipterocarpaceae growing to as much as 35-40 meters and is already listed as one of the endangered tree species per IUCN's Red list of threatened species, thus, the conservation efforts for the said tree species.
Caves or caverns are just one of the infinite unfathomable wonders of nature. One can tell just by gazing at its intricate and ethereal formations that were formed by the slow passage of time.
As an implementing agency on the management, conservation and protection of caves and cave resources as part of the country’s wealth, the DENR regularly conducts inventory, assessment and classification on the region’s caverns. To date, among the hundreds of caves in the region, DENR-XI was able to assess and classify at least 119 caves.
One of which is the Kilabot Cave in Brgy. Ngan, Davao de Oro which was recently assessed by the team from DENR-PENRO Davao de Oro, CENRO Monkayo and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) along with the assisting professionals from Davao Speleological Conservation Society (DSpeCS).
Kilabot Cave has been classified as Class I which means that it contains fragile and delicate formations and is ought to be used exclusively for scientific studies as well as for exploration, documentation and mapping purposes. It is also prohibited to be explored by tourists due to the hazards caused by limestone dissolution on its subsurface.
The assessors unveiled that the cave’s geological features include a moderate number of stalactites and draperies, a few number and formations of stalagmites as well as flowstone sheet, mammillary, sawtooth formations and botryoidal forms. Kilabot cave also possesses calcite crystals embedded on the small gours and botryoidal formations as well as gold-colored grain formations on the cave’s walls and ceilings.
Another cave that was assessed back in 2016 in Davao de Oro, categorized as Class II, is the Combilan Cave. Biologists tagged it as one of the most biologically diverse caves in the region. Though initially assessed having damaged and had signs of extraction, it was reported that the stalactites and stalagmite start to recover. Guano harvesting and harvesting of mineral resources also halted, report say.
PENROs Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur and Davao Norte are also keen on the implementation of Caves Development and Management Program. In fact, through the Regional Cave Committee (RCC) and DENR XI’s Conservation and Development Division (CDD), these field offices provide updates and substantial information on the conservation of their respective caverns. RCC is a multi-stakeholder policy making body organized to ensure that the caves are properly managed and protected by enforcing the provisions set forth by the law.
More than the adventure, historical and tourism value, Marigelaine Arguillas, Chief of DENR XI’s Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Section Chief says that “Caves are important natural resources because of their role in indicating a healthy environment. It also plays key roles in groundwater movement and serves as habitat for threatened and endangered animal species.”
Let’s get to know more about the caves from other provinces soon.
As part of the Philippines’ commitment to the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) to initiate activities that can mitigate climate change, the DENR Region XI facilitated a training on carbon sequestration study in Brgy. Oregon, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental on May 18-22, 2021.
BIMP-EAGA is a sub-regional economic cooperation established to spur economic development to the above-mentioned four countries. The Philippines’ Mindanao Cluster is being headed by DENR XI’s Regional Executive Director. Currently, the office’s Planning and Management Division (PMD) has been designated as the alternate implementing unit of the said duty, thus, their participation on the said carbon sequestration study.
It was the field actualization of what was learned during the webinar on the theoretical lecture on Carbon Stock Sequestration last November 17-19, 2020, under the DENR RXI’s target on Risk Resiliency Program to address Climate Change.
The study earmarks the determination of Carbon stocked in the different carbon pools in the established National Greening Program (NGP) plantations in CY 2011. It also aimed to determine the government’s greening initiative’s contribution to the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere.
The activity was made possible through the technical assistance extended by the DENR’s Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) through Agroforestry, Research, Development and Extension Center (ARDEC), headed by SRS II Alvin Angelo A. Salting. It was attended by technical personnel from the different CENR Offices of the province of Davao Oriental.
It is a pilot study in Region XI and participants are expected to go above the standard in order to effectively and successfully implement the project.
The DENR XI takes one step at time when it comes to mitigating climate change. As what CENR Officer of Lupon, Engr. Maribel P. Alicer said, “This is a new and unique study therefore we must extend our full support and be enthusiastic in conducting the activity for us to learn and be part of the mitigation endeavors of the government to address the unequivocal changes of our climate.”
To magnify the implementation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP), the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of Davao Oriental facilitated a training on Basic Nursery Operation cum Cloning and Seed Production Area (SPA) maintenance technique.
The activity aimed to induce skills on massive production of high-quality planting materials likewise to enhance skills and capacitate not only the DENR personnel but also the People’s Organizations (POs) in performing nursery operation, cloning and adopting techniques in maintaining Individual Plus Trees (IPTs) in SPAs.
It was also a step taken to increase the production of high-quality planting materials to cater requests from those who aim to conduct tree planting and replanting activities.
Currently, the PENRO Davao Oriental has an improved forest nursery in its compound, ready for massive seedling production through seeds and cuttings. It also has a Seed Production Area (SPA) in Brgy. La Union, San Isidro, Davao Oriental which, after an assessment and validation, was hailed by Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) as one of the best SPAs in Davao Region.
The activity was made possible through the assistance of DENR’s ERDB through Agroforestry, Research, Development and Extension Center (ARDEC), headed by SRS II Eduardo O. Sagarino. The 2-day activity was held at Honey’s Hotel and Restaurant, Matiao, City of Mati, and in the DENR SPA Site, La Union, San Isidro, all in Davao Oriental, on May 5-6, 2021. It was attended by ENGP Coordinators, nursery-in-charge, and technical personnel from PENRO and CENROs of the Province of Davao Oriental.
Having supplemented with skills, PENR Officer Alberto N. Bandiola encourages the participants to apply what they have learned and cascade it to their respective PO beneficiaries- for the success of the department’s reforestation program and for the conservation of our environment as a whole.