5,000 signatures reached
To: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Public Work and Highways, Provincial Governor of Negros Occidental, Negros Occidental Protected Area Management Board.
STOP ROAD CONSTRUCTION IN SILAY-PATAG-CADIZ-CALATRAVA, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
HALT the ongoing road construction project traversing the protected area of the Northern Negros Natural Park! This development project harms endemic wildlife, disrupts the ecosystem, exposes the forest to climate threats, and displaces indigenous people and communities within the area. We call for transparency and investigation on the approval of the project despite its violation of the General Provisions of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) Sec 27, and we call on the LGU and PAMB to firmly uphold their responsibilities towards environmental protection.
Why is this important?
The Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) is a protected forest area in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. It is located in the northern mountainous region of Negros island in the Visayas, and is the ancestral domain of the Ata-Negrito tribe. The NNNP is spread over five municipalities and six cities. It is the province's largest watershed, providing water for seventeen municipalities and cities, including the Bacolod metropolitan area. In 1935, the park was first established as a forest reserve spanning 107,727 hectares, but was reduced to its present area of 80,454 hectares in 1946. In 2005, the protected area was converted into a natural park under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act by virtue of Proclamation No. 895.
Located on the northwestern part of the island, the Bago River Watershed is nestled between Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP) and the NNNP. Both parks constitute the largest portion of the remaining terrestrial forest ecosystem on the island, with a combined area of more than 150,000 hectares. Some three million people depend on the ecosystem services provided by the Bago Watershed, MKNP, and NNNP (e.g. water for domestic use, food, livelihood, soil formation, flooding and erosion control). These natural assets reduce the risk of climate change and natural hazards and serve as important biodiversity conservation sites that are included in the Alliance for Zero Extinction in the Philippines. The NNNP hosts a number of threatened and endangered species that are endemic to the area, some examples are the Negros Bleeding Heart Dove, Visayan Warty Pig, Visayan Spotted Deer, and Red Lauan.
Continued forest and habitat degradation are prevalent, caused by unregulated extraction of forest resources, illegal tree cutting, unsustainable fuel-wood collection, illegal hunting, intensive conversion of forest into agricultural and residential land, and illegal human settlements. These pressures on the natural forests resulted in 2,400 hectares of forest degradation per year and a net forest loss of at least 290 hectares per year (DENR, 2015).
The NNNP is again facing another threat.
On August 27, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) allowed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to proceed with the road construction from the Municipality of Calatrava to Barangay Patag in Silay City which traverses the NNNP. The PAMB is composed of mayors from around the NNNP and representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Details of the project are as follows:
Contractor: Trimluv Builders and Supply
Date started: June 26, 2019
Contract completion date: March 20, 2020
Contract cost: PHP125,132,966.09
Construction consultant: DPWH - Region VI
Sources of fund: GAA 2019
Station limit: STA, 00+000.00 - STA. 02+900.00
Cadiz City, Negros Occidental
Net length: 3.701km/7.402 lane km
The PAMB members are mandated to safeguard the remaining protected areas in the province, but have instead opened the floodgates to allow wealthy and powerful individuals to build illegal structures for the interests of business and their personal recreation. All of this at the expense of the already depleted common property resource. This pattern of land occupation is already evident in Barangays Patag and Lantawan in Silay City, and in Don Salvador Benedicto and other parts of the protected area wherein resorts and leisure parks are currently operating.
We strongly condemn the decision of the PAMB - the mayors and representatives from DENR - to giving a go signal to DPWH to proceed with the road construction inside the NNNP which violates all laws governing natural park and protected area management.
Please sign and share this petition to hold the PAMB and DENR accountable for this gross violation, and once and for all, END the systemic land occupation inside the natural park for reasons of greed and control.
We need to protect the last remaining forest habitat on the island of Negros. Let us stand up for the vulnerable and voiceless wildlife that is unique to our homeland. Let us unite to protect our environment, because the ones who are mandated to do so are not.
SIGN AND SHARE THIS PETITION!
*The photo used in this petition is the exact road construction site within NNNP.