Sat, 20 Aug 2022

CARIGARA, Leyte - This town's wide forest will be greener and its protection strengthened after an agreement among different actors from the public andprivate sectors, and the academe.

The town's remaining forests and wildlife are now protected and preserved following the signing of the memorandum of agreement for all the member agencies of the Multi-Sectoral Forest and Environmental Protection Committee (MFEPC) at this town's municipal hall on Friday.

First Gen's Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is the prime mover in the mission hoping to preserve the rich lands for these to flourish.

Other MFEPC members are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the local government of Carigara, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Agriculture, Perpetual Help Community Cooperative, Eastern Visayas State University, Holy Cross Parish, and people's organizations.

Based on the Global Forest Watch data, Carigara has 3,720 hectares of natural forest, extending over 66 percent of its land area in 2010.

By 2021, the municipality has already lost 906 hectares of natural forest.

The Carigara Bay Wetlands has been identified as one of the seven bird sites in Eastern Visayas where diverse and numerous species of migratory birds have been documented.

The partnership will augment and support the limited manpower of the EDC and DENR-led forest protection team.

"We at DENR are grateful to all of the members of this committee who are committed and find time to be here, to help us in the protection of your remaining forest here in Carigara" said Crisostomo Badeo, Jr., chief of the Community Environment and Resources Office based in Palo, Leyte

The forest in Carigara is a part of the geothermal reservation protected by EDC, the operator of the 711-megawatt Leyte Geothermal Project, the world's largest geothermal steam field, that straddles Ormoc City and the town of Kananga.

As a member of the MEFPC, EDC commits to organize a village forest protection brigade for the town's two communities- Paglaum and Caghalo - and provide financial support and insurance to the members.

The company promised to continue its support to the host communities in the area through livelihood and capacity-building activities, which include refresher training on forest laws and regulations, forest fire prevention and control.

EDC's Leyte geothermal facility currently supplies more than 30 percent of the country's installed geothermal capacity. (PNA)

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