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Pampanga upland farmers urged to stop destructive farming practices

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Oct. 21 — Governor Lilia Pineda has called on upland farmers in the province to stop destructive farming practices that endanger the mountain and cause soil degradation.

The governor made the call after she learned that some farmers from villages near the mountain cultivate slope areas, slash and burn portions of the forest to be converted into rice and farm lands.

Pineda said these practices contribute greatly to the degradation of soil that causes simple erosion to massive landslides just like what happened in Barangay San Juan Baño in Arayat portion in 2009.

During the height of typhoon Santi, a runoff from the steep of the mountain hit Barangay Ayala, Magalang town.

Engineer Noel Lacadin, officer-in-charge of the Geo-Sciences Division of the Mines and Ge0-Sciences Bureau (MGB) said loose soil materials and other sediments on the mountain cause siltation of rivers, denudation of forest lands that also contributed to the severe flooding and water runoff experienced during calamities.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that some farming practices really cause destruction of the mountain such as burning of the forest, intensive tillage of slopes, burning of stubbles, indiscriminate use of pesticides, and over application of synthetic fertilizers.

The governor is scheduled to meet with the upland farmers in the province together with other concerned government agencies to inform them of the situation of Mt. Arayat and educate them on the preservation of the protected areas of the mountain.

She also vowed to give upland farmers an alternative livelihood to refrain them from being dependent on the environment. (PNA)

LAP/ZST/FEM/PS

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