COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: An environment official in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Thursday warned the farmers in Maguindanao against the practice of kaingin that destroys not only the environment but also the ecosystem.
Hadji Kahal Kedtag, DENR-ARMM regional secretary, said they have received information that some farmers, particularly in the upland part of Maguindanao, are still engaged in kaingin (slash and burn) system to clear their farm lots ahead for the rainy season.
Kedtag, who is a licensed forester, said “this is very dangerous, especially now that we are experiencing dry spell due to the El Niño phenomenon.”
It can be noted that when the trees are burned, the wild animals including birds and fowls are also affected because their habitats are destroyed. This will also affect the ecosystem.
Kedtag cited the forest fire in the town of Bubong, Lanao del Sur in January which alarmed environmentalists.
The DENR-ARMM secretary also recalled the forest fire in Indonesia where the haze had reached Mindanao which forced commercial airlines to cancel a number of flights for one week because of zero visibility in the runways.
Airports affected by the Indonesia haze were the Davao International Airport, General Santos Airport, and the Cotabato Airport in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
“If this kind of farming cannot be stopped, it can destroy vast tracts of lands especially when this goes out of proportion,” Kedtag said.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL