MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has expressed its support to a proposed legislative measure declaring the Kaliwa River Forest Reserve (KRFR) as a protected area under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).
House Bill (HB) 5055, which was filed by Rizal (2nd District) Representative Emigdio Tanjuatco III, seeks to establish the Kaliwa River Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary (KRFWS).
The DENR Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and the local government of Rizal province said they support all efforts to further protect and preserve KRFR and the rest of the Sierra Madre mountain range.
“Once legislated, fund support for the management of the KRFWS is assured and stringent regulations will be implemented,” DENR Calabarzon regional director Nilo Tamoria said in a statement Wednesday night.
Sierra Madre is a natural barrier that destroys the strength of a typhoon before it hits the landmass of Luzon Island.
Republic Act (RA) 7586, otherwise known as the “NIPAS Act”, as amended by RA 11038, otherwise known as the “Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018”, mandates the DENR to implement measures and programs to protect, maintain and sustain the perpetual existence of all native plants, animals and natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.
The KRFR is named after its geographic location being on the left side of watersheds situated in Luzon’s northeastern seaboard and part of the Sierra Madre.
Apart from its rich biodiversity, the KRFR is also home to the indigenous peoples of the Dumagat-Remontado of the Sierra Madre who play an important role in the conservation and protection of the environment and natural resources within the area.
According to the DENR, the proposed KRFWS is under the territorial jurisdiction of Tanay town in Rizal province and General Nakar town in Quezon province with a total land area of 31,883 hectares.
The KRFWS is known to be the home of various endangered wildlife species, such as the Northern Philippine hawk eagle, Philippine brown deer, Philippine warty pig, Northern rufous hornbill, among others.
It is also considered to be the home of the critically endangered Philippine eagle.
The proposed KRFWS has 12,147 hectares of remaining forest with about 172 types of plant species, 39 of which are endemic and 17 are classified as threatened.
Some species that can be found in the area are rafflesia and tayabak or jade vine.
“All those species are endemic, meaning, they can only be found in the Philippines. Those are considered keystone species, with crucial roles in defining an entire ecosystem” Tamoria said. (with reports from Perfecto Raymundo Jr., PNA)