NegOr task force supports livelihood for Balinsasayao farmers

NEGROS ORIENTAL, May 5 (PIA) -- Member-agencies of the peace, local enforcement, and development support (PLEDS) cluster of the provincial’s anti-insurgency task force has assured the community farmers to settle the agricultural lands within the protection zones in Balinsasayao Twin Lakes.

In a dialogue with the farmers, Philippine Army Brigade Commander Col. Leonardo Pena of the 302nd Infantry Brigade (IB) and cluster head of PLEDS informed them that leftist groups have been recruiting residents in the areas in the guise of helping secure the farmlands.

The PLEDS cluster of NOTF-ELCAC headed by Philippine Army Brigade Commander Col. Leonardo Peña (seated 3rd from left) of 302nd Infantry Brigade meets with farmer groups at Balinsasayao Twin Lake Natural Park. (PIA Negros Oriental)

Peña said to address some issues in Balinsasayao barangays, the government programs and services are brought to hinterland areas through the provision of needed interventions to promote sustained peace.

Balinsasayao is considered as the only remaining rainforest in Negros.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Moreno Tagra of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that under the legislated protected area, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park covers 12 barangays in four municipalities, namely: Sibulan, Valencia, San Jose, and Amlan.

However, Tagra said there are two zones allocated in Balinsasayao which include strict protection zone and multiple use zone.

He explained that protected areas are classified into two: strict protection zone, where no human intervention or activities are allowed; and multiple use zone or buffer zone, where farming is allowed but regulated to ensure the preservation of the environment.

With that, the DENR proposed that about 2,000 hectares will be converted into a multiple used zone in the area for the farmer groups to continue to plant corn, camote, abaca, coconut trees, and other vegetables.

Tagra said the area will also be allocated for tourism purposes so that the community can avail some livelihood.

For his part, Gov. Roel Degamo assured of P5M funds to the Balinsasayao famers to take up alternative livelihood to shift from using the farmlands under DENR's strict protection zone or to reduce pressure on the environment in the area of Balinsasayao Twin Lakes.

The governor asked the farmers group a proposal for sustainable livelihood program from the provincial government’s livelihood assistance of P5M.

Accordingly, Col. Peña said bringing government closer to the communities is a step to counter further communist recruitments in these remote barangays and stop the communist terrorist group deceiving innocent farmers to join their lost cause. (jct/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (

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