The Sangguniang Bayan of Narra has raised concerns about the reported rampant illegal logging at the Victoria Peaks, a forest range being proposed as a new protected area.
Narra Councilor Ryan Maminta referred to reports accompanied by photos made by mountaineers who have hiked the area and reported to have seen illegal harvesting of timber.
“Kung ating makikita bagong putol ang mga puno. Doon din ito ginagawang tabla kung saan patunay na walang permiso ang kanilang pagputol,” Maminta said.
Maminta added some of these were Narra trees whose cutting is prohibited under the law.
What is unfortunate, he further said, is that nobody knows the identity of the illegal loggers.
“Kung hindi matitigil ito, ano ang kakaharapin ni Mount Victoria? Hindi natin alam kung sino ang nangunguna sa gawain na ito. Hindi rin natin alam kung ano ang pinanghahawakan nila para ipagpatuloy ang pamumutol ng kahoy,” he said.
He said that majority of the watersheds in the town, including those in barangays Dumangueña, Malatgao, Estrella, Malinao and Princess Urduja take water supply from Victoria Peaks.
Maminta said if it will not be stopped, it will put the mountain at risk and will affect the watersheds.
“Kawawa ang mamamayan natin na kumukuha ng mga resources sa Mount Victoria. Katulad na lang ng watershed, siya rin ang nagpapatakbo ng ating mga water system dito,” Maminta added.
Recently, the municipal council approved a resolution endorsing the Victoria-Anepahan Mountain Range as a protected area.