January 30, 2023

A portion of the Puguis communal forest in La Trinidad, Benguet will soon be a training ground for personnel of the Philippine National Police.

In a memorandum of undertaking signed Sept. 25, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera represented by Executive Director Ralph Pablo, La Trinidad local government led by Mayor Romeo Salda, and the PNP-Regional Special Training Unit (RSTU) Cordillera led by Lt/Col. Myles Angel Pascual signified their intent for the establishment of the training area in the communal forest.

“In a bid to strengthen the co-management approach in ensuring the sustainability as well as security of the Puguis communal forest, there is a need for concerned stakeholders to take significant action towards protecting the remaining forests in our community,” the MOU stated.

The RSTU will submit within 90 days a site development plan for the training ground.

The MOU also stated that no trees shall be cut during the implementation of the development plan and no residential structures will be built inside the forest.  

Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Arthur Pedro said the structures to be put up must be made of light or indigenous materials, not permanent structures.

The PNP will be allowed to use a portion of the forest as a training ground for 10 years.

The PNP will also act as additional guards within the forest to secure the whole area from the entry of informal settlers or land speculators.

They should also participate in the regular maintenance and upkeep of the biodiversity within the forest including nursery management, tree planting, tree rearing, among others.

Further, the PNP will shoulder electricity and water expense of the training ground facilities.

A memorandum of agreement will be crafted and signed between the three agencies upon the approval of the development plan. – Ofelia C. Empian