December 2, 2022

Residents can now enjoy the Puguis communal forest in La Trinidad, Benguet for forest bathing, trail hiking, and biking.

La Trinidad Information Officer George Babsa-ay said there are continuous activities slated in the 48.6-hectare communal forest for its maintenance and preservation.

“We have held activities there such as cleanup drives and tree planting to assert the ownership of the people on the communal forest,” Babsa-ay said.

For years, adverse claimants have illegally built shanties and tombs and have occupied the communal forest.

The local government unit and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera have reclaimed the areas occupied by illegal settlers following series of demolitions of illegal structures.

At present, the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office immediately carries out demolitions once there are illegal structures spotted in the forest.

Forest guards are also stationed at the communal reserve to ensure the safety of the residents as well as report any illegal activities inside the forest.

Menro Chief Arthur Pedro, who heads the oversight of the communal forest, said individuals or families visiting the forest must log in at the entrance of the reserve.

Big groups are required to coordinate with the Menro for permits prior to conducting any activity inside the forest.

The forest is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday to Sunday.

Mayor Romeo Salda earlier said they are eyeing to establish an eco-park in the forest reserve.

He said Menro personnel are going around various eco-parks in the locality to adopt ideas to be incorporated in the planned communal eco-park within the forest reserve. – Ofelia C. Empian