Board Member Albert Rama is pushing to declare the Talakaigan River System in Barangay Cabigaan, Aborlan into a natural park as a measure to conserve the area as major source of water for agriculture and as an important biodiversity resource.
Rama said his proposal was based on a study of university professors Lita Sopsop and Inocencio Boot of Western Philippines University and University of the Philippines Los Baños entitled “Human-Forest Interaction in Aborlan: Implications for Conservation and Management” which showed the importance of the area especially for indigenous communities.
“Napakalaki ng role ng Talakaigan River na ‘yan kasi ‘yan ang ginagamit na tubig sa mga kabahayan at irrigation at mahalaga na mapangalagaan,” Rama said.
Rama added that as the river is part of Aborlan it has potential for tourism development that will provide livelihood opportunities for the IP communities.
He said that its declaration as a natural park will also help to manage the use and harvesting of forest product such as rattan and almaciga.
The same study also revealed that the forest ecosystem of the Aborlan has a very high conservation value due to the presence of several endemic, threatened, rare and new to science species, according to Rama.
“Sa mga pag-aaral na isinagawa, nakita nila na ang kagubatan kasama ang Talakaigan River ay napakataas ng conservation value at maraming flora and fauna na new to science kung saan dapat pag-aralan pa,” Rama added.
For immediate protection, Rama said the area must be reclassified from a Controlled Use Zone into Core Zone, and declared as a protected area under NIPAS law to ensure its long-term sustainability.
“Napakalaki ng ilog na ‘to at kung maideclare man ito malaking tulong kasi worth it talaga kung mapupuntahan at para hindi madisplace ang kabuhayan ng mga tao dahil magiging tourist destination sya,” he said.