RIZAL, Palawan — Environment authorities and health workers in this town have collaborated to ensure the safety of members of the Tau’t Bato indigenous community in Singnapan Valley in Barangay Ransang.
Among the measures they are undertaking is the conservation of Singnapan Valley being enforced by the Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) under the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-Quezon.
Renato Gonzaga, protected area superintendent (PASu) of the Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL), said Wednesday that they visit the Tau’t Bato tribe monthly despite the pandemic to make sure that their situation is “okay”.
He said their last visit to Singnapan Valley was in September. They will be visiting again this November to see the Tau’t Bato.
“Lagi natin silang pinupuntahan every month para kamustahin natin sila, ang sitwasyon nila o di kaya kung may mga problema sa lugar nila para kung kinakailangan ay matulungan natin,” Gonzaga said.
“Medyo masama lang talaga ang panahon nitong buwan ng Oktubre, hindi tayo nakapasyal doon dahil na rin sa medyo delikado ang daan sa baha at ulan,” he added.
On their health, he said the Municipal Health Office (MHO) has volunteer workers who are also indigenous peoples (IPs) to monitor them.
“Mayroon tayo dyan na mga naka-install sa mismong Singnapan Valley para laging mag-monitor sa mga katutubo, lalo na kung may mga report ng malaria o ano mang sakit para maagapan agad sila ng tulong,” he said.
Gonzaga said that in March when the lockdown was implemented, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in MIMAROPA prohibited the entry of tourists in all protected areas in the province, including Mantalingahan.
Even local tourists, researchers, and other groups were not allowed to the mountain range, he added.
“Tourist activity, research, at paspasyal sa mga kuweba doon ay hanggang ngayon wala tayong pinapayagan na may magtutungo diyan unless kung ito ay activity ng ating tanggapan sa Singnapan Valley,” said Gonzaga.