THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is due to submit to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the proposal to declare as “protected area” the Mount Mantalingahan range in Southern Palawan.
Norma Molinyawe, DENR-Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau’s Biodiversity Management Division officer-in-charge, said the agency is already finalizing the proposal so the President can study and act on it as soon as possible.
The DENR is seeking Mt. Mantalingahan’s proclamation as a protected area to help shield it from environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. “It’s a forested area with a variety of species,” Molinyawe said.
Citing reports on the matter, she noted that many of such species are endemic to the area.
The DENR said Mt. Mantalingahan mountain range’s total area is about 120,457 hectares covering Bataraza, Brooke’s Point, Sofronio Española, Quezon and Rizal municipalities.
The draft proposal puts this landscape under DENR’s administrative jurisdiction in accordance with Republic Act 7586, the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 and other relevant laws.
Several sectors have been backing the mountain range’s establishment as a protected area.
In February 2008, environmentalist Senator Pia Cayetano led a cycling event to help raise funds for saving Mt. Mantalingahan from illegal logging and mining.
The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) also noted that as early as 2003, South Palawan Planning Council already sought Mt. Mantalingahan’s establishment as a protected area. (PNA)