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Rizal solon backs establishment Sierra Madre Development Authority

Dec 3, 2019 @ 17:51

By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

A measure seeking the creation of a government body tasked with protecting the Sierra Madre mountain range has been recently filed in the Lower House.

House Assistant Majority Floor Leader and Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles said the establishment of the Sierra Madre Development Authority (SMDA) will prevent the wanton destruction and ensure balanced development of one of the county’s last frontiers.

“We need a government body with enough teeth to ensure Sierra Madre’s development is not done haphazardly and without regard for the indigenous peoples who have for centuries served as its custodians,” said Nograles.

Nograles stressed that the desire to utilize Sierra Madre’s vast resources to spur national development should be balanced with sustained and inclusive conservation efforts.

“Hindi puwedeng walang sistema at walang pakundangan ang paggamit natin sa mga biyaya ng kalikasan.”

He said the proposed SMDA could guarantee that the mountain range’s Protected Areas remain untouched while at the same time identify areas that could be developed.

Under House Bill No. 5634, the SMDA’s main task would be to conduct a comprehensive survey of the physical and natural resources and potentialities of the Sierra Madre region and to draft a comprehensive and detailed plan based on such, and designed to conserve and utilize optimally the resources within the Sierra Madre region.

The land survey would identify Sierra Madre’s social and economic conditions, hydrologic characteristics, power potentials, scenic and tourist spots, regional problems.

The proposed agency would also “plan, program finance/or undertake infrastructure projects such as river, flood and tidal control works, waste water and sewerage works, dams and water supply, roads, irrigation, housing and related works, when so required within the context of its development plans and programs including the readjustment, relocation or settlement of population within the region as may be necessary and beneficial by the Authority.”

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