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Social Fencing for Mt. Banahaw-San Cristobal Expanded

Posted on October 2, 2012

Led by the Luntiang Alyansa para sa Bundok Banahaw, Inc. (LABB), an environmental summit for the protection and restoration of the Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape (MBSCPL) was conducted in Monte Vista Resort, Calamba City, Laguna on September 20 to 21, 2012. The event was made possible through the Up-Scaling Forest Restoration Efforts in Key Biodiversity Areas Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) and LABB.

The summit initiated commitments and actions in unifying and linking organized communities in the Provinces of Quezon and Laguna to establish the MBSCPL social fence. LABB introduced social fencing in the Quezon side of MBSCPL years ago. It is now being expanded to Laguna area to encircle the entire Mt. Banahaw-San Cristobal.

Social fencing aligns the economic interests of the local people with the environmental protection or conservation need of the area, thereby making the surrounding communities in the MBSCPL true stewards of the park. Among the elements of social fence are conservation supported by livelihood opportunities for the people, resource management characterized by participatory decision-making and equitable sharing of benefits and responsibilities of key stakeholders.

Mayor Dondi Silang of Tayabas, Quezon shared during the summit, “Bahagi ng human intervention ang  pagkakaroon ng kakayanan ng lahat ng tao na magbuo ng samahan sapagkat ang pamamahala at pagprotekta ng kabundukan ay isang malawak na gawain. Dapat ang pananaw ay nagbubuo ng isang barangay na nagsasaalang-alang sa pakikibahagi sa mga karugtong lugar nito.” (Human intervention such as formation and empowerment of community organizations is an essential aspect of natural resource management. We should bring in the perspective of forming a community that relates and integrates with other surrounding communities to sustainably manage an area and its resources.)

The summit allowed all MBSCPL stakeholders to voice out issues and concerns, particularly the threats surrounding the landscape. The participants agreed to create a local environmental council for MBSCPL, craft an action plan to address priority
issues and strengthen its adoption through a barangay resolution.  A covenant of unity was signed to seal the commitments made during the summit.

Representatives from the DENR-CALABARZON, MBSCPL-Protected Area Management Board, provincial and municipal government of Quezon (Tayabas) and Laguna (Majayjay, Liliw, and Nagcarlan), Southern Luzon State University (SLSU), Armed Forces of the Philippines (First Infantry Batallion, First Infantry District), upland farmer’s organizations, and other NGOs such as Save Mt. Banahaw Movement joined the event.

Summit participant signs the Covenant of Unity for the protection and restoration of MBSCPL. (USAID-FPE Up-Scaling Project)

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