DENR steps into park boundary dispute

May 28, 2012 12:38 am 

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, May 27 –The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has sent a land evaluation party (LEP) to conduct a re-survey of the Minalungao National Park to set the territorial boundaries between the Municipality of Gen. Tinio and Gapan City.

Community environment and natural resources officer for Nueva Ecija South Joselito Blanco said the move was based on an earlier request filed by the City of Gapan under Mayor Christian Tinio to the provincial environment and natural resources office (PENRO), which sought intervention to settle the questions on their jurisdiction over the park.

The 2,100-hectare park, which is now managed by the DENR’s Protected Area and Management Bureau (PMB), is an emerging tourist destination in the mountainous boundaries of the two political subdivisions that boasts of crystal clear water and caves.

The provincial government of Nueva Ecija, in a tourism literature, described the park as featuring “breathtaking view of the narrow deep Peñaranda River “ with 16-meter limestone walls on both sides of the riverbank.

“The ridge formation of white sculptured limestone walls shows the might of the great river,” it said.

A portion of the park was also the pilot area of President Benigno Aquino’s National Greening Program (NGP) where multi-sectoral groups, including students and church –based organizations, planted both forest and fruit-bearing trees, in June 2011.

Last year, Mayor Virgilio Bote of Gen. Tinio reportedly caused the construction of a thousand steps with a giant cross on top of the mountain.

Bote has also disclosed plan to put up a hotel on the other side of the park in an apparent effort to push tourism industry in the area.

Blanco said that after the re-survey, the LEP would put up permanent markers on boundaries.

“The team is through with the re-survey and would soon do the monumenting,” Blanco said.

Tinio said the identification of boundaries between Gapan and Gen. Tinio will guide them in implementing any future projects in the area.

The local chief executive, however, declined to elaborate.

“Minalungao has a great potential for tourism,” Blanco said.

The determination of boundaries may also be needed to establish order, some observers noted. (PNA)



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