April 4, 2012

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April 2, 2012

Parts of Mt. Banahaw remain closed for tourists


MANILA, Philippines -- Some areas in Mount Banahaw remain “off limits” to visitors, including pilgrims, for another three years as these remain highly susceptible to various geological hazards.

According to Reynulfo Juan, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 4A Calabarzon OIC regional executive director, team of experts who recently conducted a study in Mount Banahaw to assess its biophysical and socio-cultural characteristics declared that trekking, camping and other outdoor activities in the “Holy Mountain” is dangerous because of the possibility of flash floods, landslide and mudslides.

Mount Banahaw was supposed to be opened to pilgrims, adventurous mountaineers, simple trekkers or mere kibitzers’ last January 29, after the lapse of an earlier resolution banning entry into some parts of the protected area.

Juan, concurrently the chairman of the Protected Areas and Management Board (PAMB) of the Mounts Banahaw and San Cristobal Protected Landscape (MBSCPL), said the PAMB passed Resolution 02-2012 on February 16, extending the ban of all activities for another three years.

Dr. Lope A. Calanog, head of the team for the DENR Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau which conducted the “carrying capacity and biodiversity study” with special focus on the vicinity of Barangay Kinabuhayan in Dolores revealed that Kinabuhayan is highly susceptible to landslide, erosion and flash flood.

The ban aims to limit human activity in the mountain. Over the years that it has been declared “off limits” to visitors, the overall condition of Mount Banahaw has shown remarkable improvements.

The team said Mount Banahaw needs more time for it to recuperate and completely recover from the stress it experienced for a long time.

“Off limits” areas start in Kinabuhayan toward the approach to Kristalino Falls to Dungaw, to Tatlong Tangke and back to Kinabuhayan on the Dolores side, Puesto Pagbuga in Barangay Bugon and Bagong Ilaya in Barangay Concepcion Pinagbakuran and Concepcion Banahaw on the Sariaya-side.

Calanog’s team also recommended a formulation and effective implementation of a “visitor management scheme” which would impose a regulated or “direct limit” of visitors at one time and restriction in specific areas such as use of the bathing, camping and worship areas.

April 1, 2012

300 dogs rescued as cops bust Korean dogfighting ring for second time


MANILA, Philippines - Police raided a dogfighting arena in San Pablo City, Laguna operated by the same Korean syndicate they had busted last December.

Six Koreans, Filipino caretakers and security guards were arrested during the Friday night raid in San Pablo.

Anna Cabrera, program director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, said about 300 pit bulls and pit bull mixes were rescued from the two-hectare lot where the dogfight ring is located.

However, around 20 dogs will have to be euthanized, she added.

"The same Koreans daw na nahuli sa (who were arrested in) December 2011 in the Indang, Cavite dogfight na nag-post lang ng (who had posted) bail. Malaki ang operasyon, may bago pang ring. Nakakaawa ang mga aso (This is a large operation, they even have a new ring. The dogs are really to be pitied)," Cabrera said.

"Kita ang ribs ng lahat ng aso (All the dogs had their ribs showing). (There is) no proper shelter. Walang tubig ‘yung iba. Nakakaawa (Some have no water. They are really pitiful). These Korean dogfighters need to be punished severely," Cabrera said.

She said the dogfight is part of an online gambling operation the Koreans run.

Cabrera urged the House of Representatives to pass House Bill 5849, which increases the penalties imposed on animal abusers.

Permit obtained for a 'farm'

According to Supt. Ferdinand de Castro, chief of the San Pablo City police, the operators of the dogfighting ring gained a permit from the village by stating that they were operating a "farm." 

They have been occupying the two-hectare lot in Purok 3, Bgy. San Gregorio for about six months when residents noticed the number of dogs steadily rising.

Armed with a search warrant, police raided the area early Saturday morning and arrested at least two Koreans. These Koreans were believed to be the same ones arrested in December 2011 in a raid in Indang, Cavite.

Anna Cabrera of PAWS said some of the dogs were in very bad shape. About 20 have already been euthanized while others have died due to poor conditions.

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