ILAGAN CITY, Isabela—Residents living along the more than P2-billion worth Ilagan-Divilacan road rehabilitation project have expressed concern over the impending destruction of indigenous trees serving as sanctuary for the already dwindling Philippine Eagle species.
Pedro Vicente, who belongs to the Agta tribe, said that a major part of the Sierra Madre mountains will be affected with the said 82-kilometer road rehabilitation project and will open up to easy access among illegal loggers.
“Thousands of indigenous trees and different bird species will be displaced which may result in the extinction of those already threatened if the contractors wouldn’t be responsible enough in their rehabilitation activities,” Vicente said.
Vicente said the Sierra Madre Mountains is also home to the threatened Philippine Eagle and the Almaciga (Agathis philippinensis) tree, one of the Philippines’ endangered forest trees.
But the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in this province has assured that the forest of the Sierra Madre mountains will be preserved and protected even after the start of said road rehabilitation project.
Forester William Savella, PENRO-Isabela, made the assurance that his office and the provincial government have surveyed the project and that measures are being prepared to minimize cutting of trees along the road for the Ilagan–Divilacan road project.
“The Eagle Sanctuary will not be disturbed,” Savella said.
“And as much as possible the affected trees should be uprooted and to be replanted in identified planting areas in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park,” he added.
The road project is expected to traverse the natural park.