Feb 13, 2014

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Stop Kaingin in Mount Arayat, slash and burn farmers asked; Gov vows support for other means of living

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The provincial government asked hundreds of slash and burn (Kaingin) upland farmers in the towns of Magalang and Arayat to stop destroying and burning trees as it effects the environment as well as people’s lives.
“Please stop environment degradation such as burning trees as it triggers landslides and flash floods like what happened in Magalang and Arayat,” Governor Lilia Pineda appealed to kangin farmers.
It was learned that most of the upland farmers in the said towns are doing slash and burn farming as charcoal making is their means of living.
With this, the governor vowed to provide livelihood assistance to Kaingin farmers in Magalang and Arayat.
She tasked a technical working group from the provincial government who will study the provision of alternative means of livelihood for the charcoal makers and kaingin farmers.
The governor said she is looking forward to adopting upland barangays as they used to, in promoting various livelihood programs particularly to Kaingin farmers encouraging them to venture into rice and vegetable farming or try their luck into business.
Magalang Mayor Romulo Pecson and Arayat Mayor Bon Alejandrino gave their full support to the plans of the provincial government as it would boost the morale of the concerned farmers, uplift their agricultural production and most of all, it would protect and preserve the environment particularly Mount Arayat.
It can be recalled that at the height of Typhoon Santi last year, a rampaging runoff from the steep slopes of Mount Arayat cut a wide swath of destruction at the foot of the mountain in Barangay Ayala, Magalang.
It was learned that the high-velocity deluge overflowed the main road, broke down concrete fences and destroyed properties, including rice crops and fishponds, estimated to be worth millions of pesos in Magalang.
The first-time tragedy is blamed on non-stop charcoal making by kaingin farmers who have cut down hundreds of trees, mostly acacia.
In September of 2009, twelve individuals died due to landslide at the foot of Mount Arayat at Sitio 7 of Barangay San Juan Banyo, Arayat brought about by Typhoon Ondoy.
 The governor expressed fear that unless the government stop the continued denudation of the mountain, something worse will happen.
She attributed the denudation of vast tracts of Mount Arayat to the destructive upland agriculture practice and reported illegal logging activities.