Group Seeks Establishment of Catanduanes Natural Park - CT

A non-government organization composed of fervent environmentalists is seeking the establishment of the Catanduanes Natural Park through the expansion of the Catanduanes Watershed Forest Reserve (CWFR) earlier declared under Presidential Proclamation 123 in 1987.

In a petition set to be submitted to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the Catanduanes Sustainable Ecosystems Development, Inc. (EcoDev) is advocating the inclusion of large portions of the Catanduanes wilderness area in the proposed park, with the ultimate goal of preserving vast habitats for biodiversity conservation in accordance with the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Law and maintain the viability of human survival in the province;

The group will likewise call on local officials headed by Governor Joseph C. Cua and Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento to exhort the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to immediately expedite the establishment of a protected area in the province based on the provisions of DENR Administrative Order No. 2008-26.

Painting a grim scenario that the life-support system in Catanduanes is practically in degenerative state, EcoDev organizers blamed "mounting anthropogenic pressures" for the gradual decline in the quality and quantity of potable water, among others.

Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2008, EcoDev is headed by Engr. Luis Surtida as board chair and president. The other officers are: Dr. Minerva Morales as board vice chair; Engr. Gil Augustus Balmadrid as board treasurer, and Prof. Estrella Placides as board secretary.

Among its members are Bishop Manolo delos Santos, Capt. Ivanhoe Arcilla, Dr. Vietrez Abella, Engr. Virgilio Arcilla, Engr. Fernan Gianan, Engr. Samuel Laynes, Neil Araojo, Maria Juliet Araojo, Arlene Bagadiong, Socorro dela Rosa, Marionito Donato, Engr. Leo Armand Gapaz, Carmel Garcia, Ephraim Antonio Gianan, Engr. Elsie Gianan, Victor Laynes, Roberto Monterola, Dr. Hazel Palmes, Maria Nelita Panti, Alma Rubio, Nora Sales, Urgel Santelices, Councilor Lemuel Surtida, Councilor Gabriel Tejerero and Marilou Vargas.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 25 June 2010