The Multi-Sectoral Forest Protection Committee (MFPC) of Polomolok, South Cotabato reported the recovery of Philippine tarsiers (Carlito syrichta) and the confiscation of illegally cut forest products as among its accomplishment for the year 2013.

Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) Engr. Agustin Valencia Jr. reported that residents of Barangay Palkan captured two tarsiers in Sitio Alnamang last April 14, 2013. He said that on the following day (April 15), MENRO personnel facilitated the release of the captured tarsiers back to the wilds of Mount Matutum Protected Landscape (MMPL). Tarsiers are among the smallest known primates endemic to the Philippines and found in the southeastern part of the archipelago particularly in Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao and are among the identified endangered species in the country.

Engr. Valencia also reported the apprehension of forest law violators and confiscation of at least 1,000 board feet of assorted illegally cut forest products and 40 sacks of wood charcoal within the MMPL, passage of a resolution requesting the Sangguniang Bayan of Polomolok to enact an ordinance against charcoal-making within the (MMPL). This paved the way for the formation of Technical Working Group (TWG) tasked to craft the Municipal Environmental Code of Polomolok.

Formed in 1996, MFPC bring forest protection activities at grassroots level and ensure community involvement. It is represented by the different sectors of the community, majority of which are Deputized Environment and Natural Resources Officers (DENROs)/ Bantay Gubats who were deputized to apprehend violators of forest laws and regulations and confiscate illegal forest products. Mahintana Foundation, Inc. is a member of MFPC and acted as co-secretariat of the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO). The Committee holds monthly regular meetings every last Thursday of the month to discuss issues and concerns regarding forest protection. The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Polomolok and Mahintana spent at least 500 thousand pesos (P500,000.00) for the MFPC activities and other support in 2013. (AST)

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