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Climate and Environment

Masungi Georeserve alarmed over BuCor inspection for Bilibid plans

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Masungi Georeserve alarmed over BuCor inspection for Bilibid plans
The Masungi Georeserve Foundation reports that 20 Bureau of Corrections personnel went to the georeserve on February 16 with orders to conduct an inspection and security threat assessment.
Masungi Georeserve Foundation, Handout

MANILA, Philippines — The Masungi Georeserve Foundation on Thursday raised alarm over an area inspection conducted by Bureau of Corrections personnel for the alleged relocation site of the New Bilibid Prison within the geopark’s vicinity.

Masungi reported that 20 BuCor personnel went to the georeserve with orders to conduct an inspection and security threat assessment.

“They bear a newly minted title over 270 hectares of the Lot 10 property in the name of BuCor. The remaining 30 hectares of Lot 10 were reportedly titled simultaneously in the name of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,” it said.

According to the foundation, Lot 10 is home to the fragile limestone formations of Masungi Georeserve and was equitized in a joint venture project between the DENR and Blue Star Construction and Development Corp., which leads and funds the group’s conservation efforts.

Lot 10 was included in conservation efforts under the Masungi Geopark Project between the foundation and the DENR through an agreement in 2017. It is also part of several protected and conserved areas.

“The Masungi Georeserve Foundation and Blue Start have been protecting the area for decades against professional squatters, physically and legally. Rangers and our conservation team have been harassed, shot, and bullied multiple times,” it said.

Penitentiary inside Masungi

Masungi noted that the site is mountainous and geologically unbuildable, making the development financially prohibitive. Citing scientists from the National Museum of the Philippines, Masungi said the project will have “expensive consequences” for the government.

According to Masungi, community members were not consulted and are opposed to the project.

“Beyond the legal, community acceptance, fiscal and environmental realm, why would the DENR allow a building of a penitentiary to ruin a national park and geological treasure?” the foundation asked.

“There are many viable alternative sites elsewhere. Masungi is a priceless legacy of the nation that should be preserved at all costs instead of destroyed,” it added.

Masungi called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and DENR Secretary Toni Loyzaga to appoint a competent project manager who will resolve conflicts in the area, and cease the issuance and applications of unscrupulous instruments within Masungi.

BuCor acting director told The STAR in a separate report that the inspection will be probed.

vuukle comment

BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

MASUNGI GEORESERVE

NEW BILIBID PRISON

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