BMS: a Continuous Pledge to Protect Mount Malarayat

Initiated as early as December 2009, Pusod Inc, through its conservation project funded by the Philippine Tropical Forests Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) conducted a Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS) Orientation and Installation for two barangays in the area of Mt. Malarayat, Lipa City –Brgy. Sto Nino and Talisay. The said initiative was also participated by other institutions such as members of the Lipa Headwaters Council (LHWC) from City ENRO, PENRO, and LIMA. Running for 2 years now, the BMS serves as a project that pursues community involvement and protection building for the reserve area.

The Biodiversity Monitoring System is a monitoring tool developed for protected areas and is used in the Philippines and even in other nations which aims to assess and check on the forest resources, both flora and fauna, as well as the threats and changes to the protected area. In the Philippines there exist 27 monitoring sites in 36 protected areas. In order to fulfil the basic provisions in the said projects different preparatory activities were enacted. Activities such as orientation seminars and planning transect establishment, site assessment, installation and tree planting.

Two years have passed but the concern and care for Malarayat never runs out as Pusod Inc. in cooperation with Barangay Local government of Sto.Nino and Talisay continuously monitor and protect their specific areas of responsibilities. As agreed upon by involved parties, scheduled monitoring visits to sites are enacted at least twice upon by selected barangay officials.

Furthermore, a requested field journal shall be submitted to Pusod Inc for documentation purposes and closer look into the area. Last April 2011, here are some summarized observations from areas of Brgy. Talisay and Sto.Nino (field reports are in the vernacular to preserve the genuine though within each journal entry).

Dated April 6 2011, Councilor Pedro Latorre of Brgy. Talisay narrated, “Pagdating ko sa PNB na may nakabuntong kalbang, nakapanlulumo… dalawang termino ko itong inaalagaan ngunit ngayon pinuputol na lang nila.” This sentiment was also shared by another forest ranger, Democrito Obales stating “sa BMS1 nakita ko nakabunton ang mga pinutol na kalbang.”

Furthermore, to the dismay of the monitoring team another incident was seen. “Written on the same day by Latorre, “sa BMS 8 doon ko nakita… sinunog ang taniman ng kahoy at maraming namatay [napuno].” These two incidents are noted and documented however, nothing would reach a solution until actions are further made.Other reports from field journals include observations of pacific environment and more people exploring the premises for viewing pleasures and environmental engagement.

By: Robee Ilagan