UPDATED: Barbed Wire, Bleeding Trees: The Masungi Georeserve Is Under Threat
A part of the conservation area has been fenced off by a quarry company.
(SPOT.ph) Barbed wire nailed into trees suddenly appeared at the Masungi Georeserve on February 26, fencing off around 500 hectares of land meant for reforestation, with a quarry company reportedly behind the act. Despite the fenced-off area being within the Masungi Geopark Project—a reforestation initiative covering about 3,000 hectares of land in the area of Rizal—it seems the move is "intended to derail the reforestation project in favor of quarrying and other harmful activities to the environment," said the Masungi Georeserve Foundation in a statement.
Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources then visited the site on March 3. They vowed to shut down the quarry and stamp down on any other mining activity in the area, which was declared a Strict Nature Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary by the department through Department Order 1993-33. Meanwhile, the foundation has called for people to continue being vigilant against similar activities.
Around 47,000 trees have been planted in the area since the foundation teamed up with the Department of Enviroment and Natural Resources (DENR) in another agreement in 2017 to bring life back to the area.
On March 1, representatives from the Army and the Philippine National Police checked the situation on ground. "Thankfully, we have a Memorandum of Agreement with the army on environment protection," noted Billie Dumaliang, Masungi Georeserve trustee and advocacy officer, in an online conversation with SPOT.ph. The quarry company is known to use "intimidation and harrassment," she added, so park rangers have been on guard ever since the fences showed up.
Dumailing adds that the foundation would greatly appreciate any help or information and that they can be reached through their website.
UPDATE (March 5, 2020): The article has been updated following the DENR's visit to Masungi Georeserve and their vow to shut down all mining activity in the area.