Save Mount Arayat Movement gains ground

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, (PNA) — Governor Lilia Pineda and members of the Pampanga Mayors’ League (PML) on Tuesday expressed their full support to the Save Mount Arayat Movement.

Pineda, during the event dubbed as Strengthening of Linkages through Executive – Legislative Agenda of the Pampanga being held at Fontana Convention Center here, said it is the concern of every Kapampangan to save Mount Arayat from degradation as it is one of the important landmarks in the province.

“The degradation of the mountain may mean a big loss for the province and a setback for the Kapampangans,” the governor said.

The PML headed by Apalit town mayor Oscar Tetangco, Jr., on the other hand, vowed to come up with a resolution reiterating full involvement in the Save Mount Arayat Movement.

Arayat Mayor Emmanuel “Bon” Alejandrino appealed the Pampanga mayors to support the Save Mount Arayat Movement as a way to preserve the mountain and protect the people living in and around the said area.

Alejandrino said that Mount Arayat based on enacted law is declared as protected area of the government hence, it is managed and preserved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

However, Alejandrino is wondering why there are areas in the mountain with land titles owned by private individuals.

The mayor upon the instruction of Governor Pineda vowed to verify the authenticity of the documents being shown by the alleged landowners.

The slope of the mountain is now highly populated with the mushrooming of informal settlers, particularly in Barangay San Juan Bano in Arayat and in Barangay Ayala in Magalang town.

It can be recalled that in September 2009 during the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy, 12 individuals were buried and died due to the landslide that took place at Purok 7 of San Juan Bano, Arayat town.

Last October, another landslide took place after typhoon Santi hit the province.

As Arayat local officials inspected the affected areas of the mountain, they found out that treasure hunting was being undertaken on the top which they claimed as the reason for the frequent occurrence of landslides.

Alejandrino said they are planning to collect all the boulders, rocks and other debris located on top of the mountain along the Mayagas creek.

“We are also contemplating on rechanneling the flow of water in the Mayagas creek and the eventual landslide in the barren land of Barangay San Mateo where no people will be affected,” he added.