April 24, 2024

Following the series of forest fires in Benguet, Rep. Eric Yap filed House Resolution 1603 seeking inquiry on the capability of government agencies in dealing with this kind of disasters.

With the recent surge in forest fires across various regions, Yap said the need for a robust and coordinated approach to forest fire management has become increasingly apparent.

“To date, more than 20 forest fires have been recorded in the province this year. We filed House Resolution 1603, urging the House Committee on Natural Resources to conduct an inquiry into the capacity and readiness of appropriate government agencies in dealing with forest fires for the purpose of prevention and containment of such disasters as well as the immediate rehabilitation and/or reforestation of damaged areas,” Yap said.

Yap’s resolution also seeks to address this concern by assessing the preparedness and effectiveness of government agencies tasked with forest fire prevention, containment, and rehabilitation.

“Aside from the resolution we filed, we are also requesting an audience with the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the Civil Defense, and Bureau of Fire Protection to discuss their capacities and needs for intervention. In order to support maximizing the capacity of our fire trucks, we also turned over fire hoses to strategic fire stations in the province, Yap added.

Yap said the inquiry will focus on identifying any gaps or deficiencies in the existing framework for forest fire ma-nagement and recommending legislative measures to address these shortcomings. “We are in close coordination with the barangays, LGUs in assessing the extent of the damage of the forest fires that recently broke out, so as we can extend assistance to the families affected.

He also emphasized the importance of proactive measures in mitigating the impact of forest fires on communities, biodiversity, and the environment while highlighting the need for a multi-faceted approach to forest fire management, encompassing both preventive measures and post-disaster interventions.

Yap’s inquiry also aims to pave the way for evidence-based policies and strategies to mitigate the impact of forest fires and protect the nation’s forests and safeguarding the country’s natural resources and enhancing its resi-lience to environmental hazards.

“Given that the air quality is deteriorating given the situation in vicinities near the forest fires, we encourage our kakailyan to wear face masks and if required by the LGUs, to evacuate the area for their safety,” he said. – Press release