Press Release
February 3, 2007


The Senate has approved on second reading this week Senate Bill No.2532, which seeks to consolidate the management of Cebu province's five remaining forest areas and watersheds, to be known as the "Central Cebu Protected Landscape."

"The Senate has responded to the urgent appeal of Cebuanos for the protection of the remaining forestlands and watersheds in their province," said Senator Pia S. Cayetano, principal sponsor of SBN 2532 and chairperson of the senate committee on environment and natural resources.

"The final approval of this bill and its eventual enactment into law would be crucial in addressing the creeping water shortage problem in Metro Cebu and in nearby areas," she stressed.

The measure originated from the House of Representatives with Rep. Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) as principal author.

Under SBN 2532, a single policy-making body called the Central Cebu Protected Landscape-Protected Area Management Board (CCPL-PAMB) will oversee the following areas: Sudlon National Park, Cebu Central National Park, Mananga River Watershed Forest Reserve, Kotkot-Lusaran Watershed Forest Reserve and Buhisan Watershed Forest Reserve.

The consolidated protected area spans 29,062 hectares of contiguous forests and watersheds located right in the middle of Cebu province, covering areas in the cities of Cebu, Talisay, Toledo and Danao and in the municipalities of Minglanilla, Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela and Balamban.

"Rapid urbanization in recent decades has stripped Cebu province of its natural forest cover," she said. "Fortunately, the province still has these patches of forestlands which host several endangered flora and fauna, and watersheds that provide drinking water to surrounding cities and municipalities."

The protected area is home to approximately 74 endemic faunal species, eleven of which have been categorized as "highly threatened species." It also hosts endemic plants, including the Cebu cinnamon and a rare orchid, Flinkingeria sp., which is considered as a new species by scientists.

Cayetano said the declaration of Central Cebu as a protected area would boost efforts to restore the degraded portions of these forests and watersheds and protect these from destructive human activities like poaching and illegal logging, as well as bioprospecting.

SBN 2532 is just one of 18 protected area bills currently being sponsored by Cayetano in plenary. Other pending bills include the protection of the Tubbataha Reefs Marine National Park in Palawan, and Mounts Banahaw and Cristobal, considered as the biggest forest parks in Southern Tagalog.

Cayetano has appealed to her fellow senators to expedite the passage of the protected area bills, saying this could be the 13 th Congress' main legacy for the environment and future generations.

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