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To: President Bongbong Marcos, DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, BMB Director Natividad Bernardino, Congress Committees on Environment and Natural Resources

President Marcos: #SaveMasungi from Quarrying and Remove Land Grabbers

Soon, you may not have the chance to see the famous Sapot nor the magnificent limestone formations and wildlife of the Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal.
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UPDATE: On March 3, 2020, World Wildlife Day, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu announced that the three quarrying permits totaling 1,500 hectares inside the Upper Marikina Protected Landscape and Masungi Wildlife Sanctuary shall be canceled.

Today, March 23, 2022, no formal cancellation has been issued by the DENR. Two of these quarry operators, sister companies Rapid City and Quarry Rock, insist on quarrying the watershed and protected area.

Instead of removing the quarries and large-scale illegal occupants and swimming pool resorts, we know that there are concerted efforts from these vested and destructive interests and their backers to stop Masungi's conservation efforts in and around the limestones.

We denounce and reject these moves. We call on our leaders to stand firmly on the side of conservation and prioritize the welfare of millions over the profit motive of a few!
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On February 26, 2020, a quarry company started to encroach on Masungi’s assigned reforestation site. They put up barbed wires that will cut off reforestation work in some 500 hectares of degraded land around the georeserve (the equivalent of 11,450 basketball courts).

It is apparent that the quarry company’s intention is to drive the project team away and stop the reforestation project. Reports are rife that the quarry company will engage more men in uniform to forcibly continue its fencing activities.                      

Dear President Marcos, we the undersigned citizens, make this urgent appeal to stop the illegal fencing immediately and expel the quarry company and its destructive activities from Masungi and the larger Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape once and for all.

The quarry company’s activities are a brazen violation of the law.

The reforestation site is within the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape and the proposed Masungi Strict Nature and Wildlife Sanctuary, both of which are protected or conserved areas areas where destructive activities such as quarrying are STRICTLY prohibited.

We know that you will not tolerate this blatant violation of the law, especially one that will affect millions of Filipinos lacking clean water and clean air that only these forests can provide.

As you know, the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and time is running out to prevent another tragedy like Ondoy from happening. It is from these barren mountains that the massive destruction caused by Ondoy started.

In 2017, the DENR tasked the Masungi Georeserve Foundation, together with public, private and civil society partners, to help it reforest and rewild some 3,000 hectares of heavily degraded land entirely self-financed by sustainable and low-volume tourism.

With an 80% funding gap for biodiversity conservation in the Philippines, innovative and collaborative mechanisms like those of Masungi's are vital in fulfilling our national and international targets and commitments for restoring forest cover and protecting habitats.

To-date, 18 km of monitoring trails and 17 ranger stations have been established, more than 100 rangers have been engaged, and over 68,000 native trees have been planted and nurtured through the support of thousands of volunteers, visitors, and local park rangers.

Masungi Georeserve is an award-winning conservation project protecting historic limestone formations and hundreds of plant and animal species in Baras, Rizal. Formerly a barren wasteland due to illegal logging and other land speculation practices, the Masungi Georeserve’s ecosystem was successfully restored after more than 20 years of dedicated conservation work against many different threats.

As an international conservation expert has raised, “It is inconceivable that a globally recognized conservation project like Masungi still has to fight off a quarrying interest.”

Why is this important?

By signing this petition, you will help save reforestation efforts that are urgently needed to restore the diminishing water supply, to provide sustainable livelihood to surrounding communities, and perhaps most importantly, to guard against catastrophic landslides and flashfloods like those brought by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 and Ulysses in 2020.

Together, let us #SaveMasungi. #NoToQuarryinMasungi

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2022-06-20 15:02:36 +0800

20,000 signatures reached

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