BENGUET, Philippines – For the last couple of weeks, Benguet has been plagued with forest fires that have razed over 900 hectares – 199 of which are part of the National Greening Program (NGP) area. The NGP was launched as a means to increase water reservation for the dams in northern Luzon.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that over 106,000 pine trees have been burned because of the fire. Provincial environmental officer Edgardo Flor said that the fires will affect water supplies in the area. “Medyo limited na ‘yung (tubig). Yung community rin sinasabi nila kumaunti yung (tubig) sa creeks and sa rivers,” Flor said.
He also said that one of the causes for the forest fires is kaingin. “One reason is yung kaingin, nag-uumpisa na kasi sila to clear yung ilang area para sa preparatory sa planting time sa March at April. Sinusunog nila ung damo para pagdating ng tag-ulan tutubo ulit ‘yung damo at ‘yun ang gustong kainin ng mga baka,” he added.