RIZAL Fourth District Rep. Juan Fidel Felipe Nograles renewed his call for the immediate passage of a bill creating the Sierra Madre Development Authority.
“Amid the threat of ‘Karding,’ Sierra Madre has once again shown just how crucial it is in protecting us against extreme weather events. The Sierra Madre Development Authority (SMDA) will help us preserve this shield in the face of a worsening climate crisis Nograles said.
“We have to be more aggressive, strategic, and comprehensive in our efforts to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. The SMDA will be a massive help in unifying our efforts,” he said.
“Karding” hit the Philippines on Sunday, September 25.
Proclamation 413 of 2012 declared September 26 of every year as “Save Sierra Madre Day.”
The Sierra Madre is the country’s longest mountain range. It runs hundreds of kilometers from Cagayan to Quezon province.
“It is considered and known as the ‘backbone of Luzon’ as the mountain range whose forest cover is a natural shield and barrier protecting the island of Luzon by attenuating the entry of typhoons from the Pacific Ocean even before reaching the mainland and protecting the island from storm surges as well,” the bill’s explanatory note read.
The bill mandates the SMDA to “make a comprehensive survey of the physical and natural resources and potentialities of the Sierra Madre region” and “draft a comprehensive and detailed plan designed to conserve and optimally utilize the resources within the Sierra Madre region to promote the region’s rapid social and economic development.”
Under the bill, the SMDA will be empowered to collect annual fees for the use of resources. The fees to be collected shall be subject to the approval of the country’s president and “shall be used for the management and development of” the Sierra Madre region, “its forest covers and its watershed areas,” the bill says.
A similar bill that is also pending at the House of Representatives was filed by Isabela Sixth District Rep. Faustino “Inno” Dy 5th. It is House Bill 1214, a measure that was also filed in July and which seeks to create the Sierra Madre Conservation and Development Authority.