LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, April 21 — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will intensify its information education and communications campaign (IECs) in the next few days in its bid to stop forest fires in the province.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Wendy Co said this can only be done since her office has little budget allocated for forest protection.
Neither has it enough funds to hire additional forest rangers who can be deployed to watch out the existing forest covers in eastern, western and central Pangasinan, she said.
The EICs, which will enlist the help of village officials, will be concentrated in upland communities or near existing forest areas in order to appeal to the people not to be reckless and be reminded how to take care of their forests which are the only ones existing in the province.
Speaking Monday before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) in its question hour as resource speaker, Co revealed that there are only 20 forest guards in Pangasinan who had been deployed to watch over 146,000 hectares of land in Pangasinan.
In the forum, the SP was investigating forest fires that happened in Natividad and Aguilar towns during the Holy Week that gobbled out hundreds of hectares planted with forest trees.
Co said for lack of funds at the moment, her office can not hire additional forest guards but will appreciate it very much if the provincial government can help by employing its own forest guards to oversee the still existing forest covers.
She believes that well informed community people will do something to help save their forests from destruction done intentionally or through reckless demeanors by other people. (PNA)