BACOLOD CITY, Philippines ? Mayors of 31 towns and cities in Negros Occidental want to ban the indiscriminate cutting of forest trees for charcoal production in the province following the devastating floods that hit the third district last month.
The Negros Association of Chief Executives (Negros-ACE) passed a resolution, urging Governor Alfredo Marañon and the Provincial Board to enact an ordinance that would ban cutting of trees for charcoal production.
The resolution, which was passed unanimously, said illegal charcoal makers in the mountain barangays indiscriminately cut down trees in reforested areas without knowing that the depletion of the forest cover would trigger floods and landslides.
Last month, EB Magallona town and the cities of Victorias, Talisay and Silay in the third district as well as a portion of Bacolod City were hit by floods, which destroyed over P14.8 million worth of crops and more than 50 homes.
Mudslides also affected the towns of La Castellana and Moises Padilla. Landslides and mudslides were due to the lack of forest cover, the resolution said.
Gerry Ledesma, president of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, said the remaining forest cover of Negros Occidental is about 3 percent of the total land area of the province of 792,607 hectares. As of last count, Ledesma said the remaining forested cover is about 16,000 hectares in North Negros Natural Park, and 8,000 hectares in Mt. Kanlaon National Park. Among the protected areas in the province are the Mt. Kanlaon National Park, the Northern Negros Natural Park, the watershed in Bago City, and the forest reserve in Kabankalan City.