The Puerto Princesa City Environmental Protection Task Force (PPC-EPTF) will begin removing unlawfully constructed fences in portions of Sitio Talaudyong, Barangay Bacungan designated as a forest after offenders have been given their individual warnings.
The area has been identified by city environment authorities as a hotspot for land-related issues, the most recent being the alleged illegally-constructed road that cuts through an old growth forest.
The EPTF, a multi-stakeholder task force made up of local law enforcement and environmental authorities, decided on October 12 that all illegally placed structures, mostly fences and gates, would be dismantled after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued notices of violation to alleged landowners.
According to EPTF secretariat Beth Maclang, the issuance of notices provides due process for the violators.
“Babaklasin ang mga bakod at gate within timberland based sa inventory na mga illegal claimants last February 2021. Napag-usapan ang mga updates ng nangyari sa inspection sa Talaudyong forest, wherein merong massive destruction,” Maclang said in an interview Friday.
“Sa ngayon, ongoing pa ang pag-issue ng mga notice sa Talaudyong. May due process din kasi bago ang pagbabaklas,” she added.
Under DENR laws, land classified as timberland cannot be applied for ownership titles or be claimed as private property. Developments and resource extraction are also prohibited unless a special use permit is secured. Only land classified as alienable and disposable can be applied for ownership titles.
Maclang added that this is part of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office’s (City ENRO) and the DENR’S plan to rehabilitate deforested areas in Talaudyong and convert the area into a nature reserve, especially in the area that was cleared for the construction of a major road.
Other matters discussed in the meeting were the illegal sale of timberland lots not limited only to Talaudyong, but in other areas in Puerto Princesa. This kind of illegal activity has been mostly attributed to the tourism growth in the area.