T’boli, South Cotabato) – In coordination with the Local Government Unit of T’boli and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-CENRO) in Banga, Mahintana Foundation facilitated the formation of a 24-member Bantay Gubat (Volunteer Forest Guards) in Barangay Datal Bob last October 16, 2013. The formation of the group is a result of the series of Stakeholder’s Consultation for Silway River Headwater Areas Reforestation and Conservation conducted by Mahintana with the support of Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF), Inc.

Mr. Ricardo Padernilla, Chief of Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Unit and Mr. Rodel Garcia, Chief of Utilization Unit of DENR-CENRO, oriented the participants about the basic provisions of RA 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002 and the utilization of planted trees inside a private land and the restriction on timberland.

SB  Member Abelardo Serofia Jr. – Committee Chairman on Environment and Natural Resources, who was also present during the actvity, pledged support to the newly-formed Bantay Gubat. Among these are the provision of PhilHealth (medical care) for the members and giving priority to their dependents in the Technical Education Skills Development Administration (TESDA) Scholarship Program of the municipality. Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) Julian Asion Jr. also expressed support and encouragement to the group saying that protection of the remaining forest is not only for the benefit of the present generation but for the future as well.

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