Legarda Seeks Delineation of Phl Forest Boundaries

August 10, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda has filed a bill seeking to delineate and properly identify the country’s forestlands with due regard to their preservation and protection.

“At present, government relies on the land classification maps and cadastral survey maps of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the initiatives of local government units (LGUs) in identifying the forestlands and agricultural lands. However, despite these efforts, unscrupulous individuals defy the integrity of these demarcated boundaries,” Legarda stressed.

Legarda said, in the absence of clear demarcation on the ground by concrete monuments and other visible signs, majority of those who live within the forestlands are not even aware that they are violating a law that declares clearing and farming in forestlands as criminal acts. Without the boundaries, people utilize the forestlands and its resources in an unsustainable and destructive manner.

Senate Bill No. 35 is in keeping with Section 4 of Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which states: “Congress shall, as soon as possible, determine by law the specific limits of forest lands and national parks, marking clearly their boundaries on the ground.”

Legarda stressed that “with demarcated and properly identified forestlands, the national government can better plan the utilization of our forest resources, and LGUs will be better equipped to initiate and implement development projects and programs with regard to forestland preservation.”

The proposed measure designates as permanent forestlands the following: (a) all lands of the public domain already classified as forestland per existing land classification maps issued by the DENR, (b) all permanent forest reserves proclaimed as such by the President or declared by Congress through law, and (c) such areas within the unclassified lands of the public domain which may hereafter be classified as forestland by DENR. The permanent forestlands shall be further sub-classified by the DENR, after due consultation with the LGUs, concerned communities, and other stakeholders into: (a) protection forests and (b) production forests.

Under the bill, the permanent forest line shall be established and clearly marked on the ground by concrete monuments at certain fixed distances, visible cut lines, signboards, and uniformly-spaced distinctive trees maintained at all times between the concrete monuments. The delineation of the permanent forest line is essential for the establishment of sustainable development plan for both agricultural land and forestlands.