LUCBAN, Quezon — The local government of this town ordered a private contractor to put on hold the construction of a road project at the foot of Mount Banahaw as the site is part of the protected area.
The road project Barangay Palola is supposed to be in preparation for the development of an eco-tourism park.
Mayor Agustin M. Villaverde told an environmental organization Tanggol kalikasan that he readily ordered to stop the ongoing road clearing because it is illegal and without the corresponding permission from the local government unit.
Villaverde stressed that the portion is covered by the protected area and watershed of the town of Lucban.
The mayor explained that the watershed might be affected should the development continue, thereby endangering the villagers.
Villaverde assured that those behind the project would be held accountable, even as he promised the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and the Protected Area Management Office (PAMO- MBSCPL) of a thorough investigation.
Based on the statement of Municipal Environment and Natural Resource Officer (MENRO) Ronaldo Narinay, together with the Municipal Engineering Office and Municipal Planning and Development Council, the said area was declared in the municipal zoning ordinance of Lucban as a protected area.
It is thus obviously a part of the buffer zone of Banahaw, and any development in the area could be a violation of the Republic Act 9847, known as Mounts Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape (MBSCPL) Act of 2009.
In his letter to the Barangay chairman Francisco Cabawatan of Brgy. Palola dated June 29, 2022, Cornelio Pasumbal of JEMAK Construction and Development Corporation said the road is designed to provide an easy and convenient way for tourists and the public to visit the place.
The road project started in May 2022 and only discovered the groundworks on June 21, and the total area to be developed is about 54 hectares and the land was purchased from four individuals who were contracted by the said corporation.
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