Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) should collaborate with the municipal local government units for a strengthened and a more realistic fire prevention programs.
Mayors Abraham Akilit of Bauko and Anthony Wooden of Tadian raised the challenge during the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting as both deplored the wanton burning of forests year-in and year out.
The two mayors said their municipalities are also victims of forest fires that destroyed young trees which were planted in the previous years in various plantations sites.
In its reports, the BFP recorded 53 fire incidents in the province in the first quarter of this year wherein 42 are forest fires mostly occurring in the capital-town of Bontoc.
Akilit and Wooden said there is really a need to strengthen networks from the concerned agencies and partner stakeholders to put a stop to the yearly burning of the forests.
Akilit said one way to control forest fires is the establishments of green built areas which he suggested the DENR should integrate in its reforestation programs. He said with green builting or putting of forest lines in tree plantations, the fire is prevented from going to the other side.
Wooden said to discourage the reckless and intentional burning of our mountains, the BFP has to intensify its investigation and file the appropriate cases in court against those responsible.
The BFP has also been asking local government units to come up with local ordinances that will enhance fire prevention programs in their respective localities.
With the report of the BFP that one cause of forest fires is the intentional burning of the mountain to let new shoots of succulent grass to grow for their cattle, governor and PPOC chairman Leonard Mayaen suggested that the BFP and the DENR to come up with appropriate information education campaign zeroing on the individuals believed causing these fires.
The governor observed that it is always the same mountains that are being burned every year.He advised the two offices to coordinate with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to ride on their information education campaign.
Other reported causes of forest fires are unattended trash burning from kaingin and improper disposal of lighted cigarette butts usually thrown along the roads.