Photo Release

January 11, 2022

Protecting PH forest lands: Sen. Cynthia Villar leads the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change's hearing Tuesday, January 11, 2022 on bills seeking to declare the Tugbo Natural Biotic Area in Masbate as a protected area, and to reclassify into an agricultural land a portion of the Mangabul Forest Reserve in Pangasinan. Villar, who pushed for the passage of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas Systems (E-NIPAS) Act of 2018, said the Tugbo Natural Biotic Area serves as a primary water source of local government units and home to endemic flora and fauna, including vulnerable wild bird species. She said the proposed conversion of a portion of the Mangabul Forest Reserve as an alienable and disposable land will "promote social justice" and will be for "setting things right" for farmers who have been occupying the area for a long time. "We aim to strike a balance between affording social justice and the conservation and the restoration of our forest ecosystem," Villar said. (Screengrab/Senate PRIB)