Malaya Online, October 1, 2005

Region 3 Maps Out Forest Protection Plan
Dipaculao and Dingalan included in plan

SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA - A top level meeting among environment officials and forest protection officers was held recently to map out plans to protect the remaining forests in the Region. Included in the plan was the protection of the lush forests of Dipaculao and Dingalan in Aurora Province.

The forest protection plan is aimed at controlling illegal logging activities in areas considered "hotspots" in Central Luzon. Experts predict that if illegal logging is not abated soon and unless the government implements a comprehensive forest protection and rehabilitation plan, the forests in the region will vanish by 2050.

DENR officials stated that the plan was patterned after the DENR's Omnibus Forestry guidelines that identified as critical the upland agro-forestry development and forest boundary delineation in the protection and rehabilitation of the forests in the Region. The plan will also address other related issues like forest management and protection to ensure the short and long-term economic and environmental benefits of sustainable forestry activities.

In Aurora, officials have cited Dipaculao and Dingalan as illegal logging hotspots where illegal timber activities continue to happen. Aside from the two areas, other districts in Region 3 tagged as hotspots include Sta. Cruz, Castillejos and Iba in Zambales; San Jose, Mayantoc and San Clemente in Tarlac; Carrangalan, Bongabon and Laur in Nueva Ecija; Mt. Arayat in Pampanga; Sumacbao River and San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan; and Bagac, Morong, and Mariveles in Bataan.

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