April 20, 2024

In wake of the series of forest fires in Benguet, Rep. Eric Yap will soon craft a legislation that will place a heavier penalty against forest fire violators. 

Yap, in a press release, said with stiffer fines against forest arsonists, it will deter future forest fire catastrophes. He said the legislative action is hoped to also address the root causes of forest fires. 

He recently donated 1,000 kilos of iodized salt to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Benguet, to bolster its cloud seeding efforts to quell the flames. 

On March 15, the Atok Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office informed the public that Halsema Highway, particularly at Km. 46 at Sitio Paoay, was temporarily not passable due to a forest fire. 

“Hopefully, this is enough to produce enough rainfall because of the forest fires happening now,” Yap said.

He also met with the Office of the Civil Defense-Cordillera and the BFP to craft possible solutions in suppressing forest fires in the province.

Gaya nitong salt, natatagalan daw sa procurement process kaya delayed din ang operations. We met with the concerned agencies with that purpose in mind, kung paano mas mapapabilis pa and maging mas efficient ang response, pero mas palalakasin siyempre yung preventive measures,” Yap said.

“We call our kail-yan to practice safety precautions and to coordinate with the authorities in preventing and in responding to the forest fires.”

The agencies are also coordinating with the Air Force to conduct helicopter bucket operations to extinguish the forest fires, which have been annual occurrences in the province especially during the dry months. – Ofelia C. Empian