Law on Sierra Madre conservation pushed

The Sierra Madre and its 500-kilometer vast range stretching along the eastern portion of Luzon served as blanket protection from the recent wrath of super typhoon “Karding,” which devastated the rice-producing regions.

If it wasn’t for the trees and slope of the mountain range, damage and losses from the typhoon could have been worse.

Thus, agriculture stakeholders are asking government authorities to pass a legislation that would help conserve Sierra Madre — stressing the significance of the mountain range to protect the country from weather disturbances.

At a press conference on Monday, Central Luzon Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional director Wilfredo Cruz pointed out that the Sierra Madre mountain range also saved 17 million brood stock in the typhoon-hit areas.

“About 17 million broodstock would’ve been lost if not for the Sierra Madre. Luzon is number one in aquaculture production, and Central Luzon, or Region 3 produces 16 percent by value. By volume, it’s also big,” Cruz told reporters.

Broodstock is mature fish used in aquaculture for breeding purposes.

“Karding” swept through Luzon after intensifying from a severe tropical storm to a super typhoon within hours. With maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour and gustiness of 240km/h, it is one of the strongest typhoons to have formed and made landfall this year.

Sustainable livelihood

Norberto Chingcuanco, vice president for corporate planning of Feedmix Specialist Inc. also noted that Sierra Madre’s impact on “Karding” shows that nature is vital to ensuring a sustainable livelihood.

“We need nature for our livelihood. Aquaculture depends on clean water to survive and thrive. It is in our best interest to preserve the environment so we can keep on producing fish,” Chingcuanco said.

Last week, Rizal Representative Fidel Nograles pushed for House Bill 1972 mandating the Sierra Madre Development Authority to take over the conservation and management of the mountain range.

Nograles said the SMDA would conduct a comprehensive survey of the Sierra Madre region’s physical and natural resources and draft a comprehensive plan to conserve and utilize them to promote its social and economic development.

Northern Sierra Madre Natural Par is the largest protected area of the Philippines, covering the northern range of the Sierra Madre Mountains of eastern Luzon.

The park is in the eastern part of the province of Isabela in Cagayan Valley consisting of a total area of 359,486 hectares, broken down to 287,861 hectares of land area and 71,652 hectares of coastline water area.

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