Gov't Probes Illegal Logging in Angat Dam

Article excerpt

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Friday ordered three units of the department to probe illegal logging and squatting at the Angat Dam watershed in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje told the Field Operations unit of the DENR, Forest Management Bureau (FMB) and regional office of the department in Central Luzon to investigate the claims and file charges against those found to be engaged in illegal activities.

"We have to protect the watershed from any encroachment and other illegal activities that would compromise the integrity of the Angat Dam, especially at this time that our water supply has been affected by the impact of the El Nino phenomenon," he said.

Reports are rife that 600 illegal settlers, among them employees of the National Power Corp. (Napocor), have been in the watershed for the past 20 years and are occupying portions of the watershed in Barangay San Mateo, Norzagaray.

The Angat watershed has a total area of 62,309 hectares.

"We have to look into the veracity of the report. If indeed there are illegal settlers in the watershed, it is the responsibility of the Napocor to clear the area of squatters," Paje said. …