LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been installing checkpoints to prevent the hauling of construction materials and regulate the entry of visitors to Sitio Pungayan, popularly known as “La Presa” in Mount Kabuyao, Tuba, Benguet following an order from DENR Central Office.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Julio Lopez said the establishment of checkpoints manned by teams of forest rangers was instructed by the DENR Central Office to protect the forest reservation that had been swarmed by tourists and enterprising individuals after it was popularized by a television series.
He said the DENR has filed cases against 13 individuals who built semi-permanent and permanent illegal structures in La Presa in violation of the Revised Forestry Code or Presidential Decree 705.
The DENR established a main checkpoint at the entrance of Santo Tomas to track down construction materials that may be transported and used to build illegal structures within the La Presa area, according to Lopez.
Another checkpoint was established entering La Presa in Mount Kabuyao to control the entry of visitors. Lopez said the DENR wants to protect the forest reservation and not to overload the carrying capacity of the site.
As defined by the World Tourism Organization, carrying capacity means, “the maximum number of people that may visit a tourist destination at the same time, without causing destruction of the physical, economic, socio-cultural environment and an unacceptable decrease in the quality of visitors’ satisfaction.”
Gaby B. Keith