The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte in coordination with the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENRO) organized a consultative meeting with the elected officials of the Municipality of Nunungan headed by Mayor Marcos M. Mamay along with the concerned Barangay Chairmen for the protection and conservation of the entire forest areas in the municipality, including Mt. Inayawan Range Natural Park.

Provincial Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo, in her opening statement humbly informed the elected officials of the actions taken by the Provincial Government in curtailing the spread of Coronavirus 2019, such as converting the Provincial Hospital in Kolambugan and designating buildings in Lanao del Norte Provincial Hospital in Baroy as additional isolation facilities, aside from establishing a COVID-19 testing laboratory in old Kapatagan Provincial Hospital-the only one in the region spearheaded by a Provincial Government.

Though the Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte like any other provinces in the country is focusing on finding ways on managing the threat posed by COVID-19 to keep the people safe and healthy, however, it is also looking to other issues and concerns that need immediate actions, one is the protection and conservation of natural resources in the province.

Nunungan is the largest municipality in the province in terms of land area and considered the last frontier of Lanao del Norte for its rainforest and the home of Mt. Inayawan Range Natural Park, where the two serene and majestic lakes nestle.

The rainforest of Nunungan is also a vital source of water for the municipalities of Lanao del Norte, particularly in the irrigation of rice fields and other agricultural lands in Kapatagan Valley.

At the open forum, Governor Angging earnestly asked the commitment of the Barangay Chairmen as direct stakeholders to help and support the Office of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources, the Office of the Municipal Mayor and the Provincial Government to stop or report any activities that damage the forest, primarily the illegal logging and the uncontrolled forest clearing or Kaingin. In response, the Barangay Chairmen unanimously expressed their 100% support to the campaign and will report any illegal logging or other activities that destroy the forest.

“We cannot do it alone to protect our forest. We need your help and that is why we are here today to come up with a common solution for the conservation of the forest in the Municipality of Nunungan, after all this is for the future of our children and their children. The Provincial Government through the Provincial Agriculture’s Office can help you to provide a livelihood for your constituents to have a source of income not from illegal activities, especially the ones that destroy our forested areas. All we want is your genuine interest to avail of the livelihood program and willingness to sustain it.”

The DENR Protected Area Superintendent Saiben Mampao presented the recommended strategies to combat timber poaching/anti-illegal logging in the forest of the Municipality of Nunungan, like the Establishment of AFP detachment, Intensified Community Education and Public Awareness, Regular Anti-Illegal Logging Operation, Engagement of additional Community Forest Guard Volunteers (ex. Bantay Gubat/Lawa), Creation/Operationalization of Provincial/Municipal Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (ex. Task Force Kalasan), Installation/Operationalization of Anti-Illegal Logging Checkpoints in Nunungan, Kapatagan and Sultan Naga Dimaporo, and Provision of Alternative Livelihood to Poorest Upland Communities.

Present also at the venue are PENRO Information Systems Division Chief Amron B. Acampong and PGLDN-ENRO Officer Ramon G. Serapio. The meeting was held at Rianas Restaurant, Mindanao Civic Center Sports Complex, on July 24, 2020. PIO-LDN