April 21, 2024

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Barangays in this municipality that will have a zero-forest fire incident will be granted additional funds from the local government unit in 2025.

Bontoc Mayor Jerome Tudlong, Jr. made the pronouncement during the meeting of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) on Feb. 20.

He instructed the MDRRM Office and the Municipal Budget Office to allot P300,000 in the preparation of the LGU’s budget for 2025 chargeable against the five percent calamity fund.

Barangays that have no records of forest fire from September this year until September 2025, will equally share the P300,000.

Barangay Poblacion is not included as it has no protected forest or mountain within its area of jurisdiction.

Tudlong, who also chairs the MDRRMC, said the additional funds for barangays will serve as an incentive for areas that can protect the mountains from fires.

The Bontoc Municipal Fire Station (MFS) during the MDRRMC meeting reported on the alarming increase in forest fire incidents in the municipality.

“This will serve as a reward to the barangay that will heighten its proactive measures on the protection of forests and mountains. I reiterate my appeal to the public to be mindful of the impact of forest fires on the environment, our health, and the safety of the public and the responders,” the mayor said.

Senior Fire Officer 1 Clifford Chinalpan said from Jan. 1 to Feb. 19, the Bontoc MFS monitored 25 forest fire incidents, but only 12 forest fires were reported.

These included three forest fire incidents in January with 8.505 hectares of land affected and nine this month ravaging 97.011 hectares of land.

Chinalpan asked the support and cooperation of the public in the campaign for fire prevention and safety.

He solicited the support of the barangays in the organization or establishment of a Community Fire Auxiliary Group (CFAG) in every barangay.

The BFP is the lead agency in the organization of CFAG in barangays to serve as first responders during fire incidents, especially in areas that are isolated and far from the fire stations.

Chinalpan said the barangays that have organized and trained CFAG are Samoki, Gonogon, Alab Proper, Mainit, and Guina-ang.

There are seven fire brigades including Alab Oriente Barangay Fire Brigade, Balili Barangay Volunteer Brigade, Bomarva Fire Brigade, Lanao Fire Brigade, Provincial Social Security Group Fire Brigade, Provincial Capitol Fire Brigade, and Bontoc Emergency Response Team Fire Brigade.

He appealed to the barangay officials to revisit their ordinances relative to the burning of forests or mountains and implement the same.

He appealed to barangays with no ordinances to adopt measures for the protection of the environment. – Alpine L. Killa-Malwagay