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Salceda supports Sierra Madre conservation, sustainable development ‘built on cultural, subliminal affection’ of the people; Solon wants more efforts to protect mountain range, “not just for typhoon-proofing value”

September 28th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) supports the call for the protection of the Sierra Madre mountain range and the sustainable development of its environs, in response to conversations about how the prominent land feature supposedly protected the North Luzon area from the worst effects of Super Typhoon Karding.

“The people of North Luzon certainly have a deep and sentimental affection for Sierra Madre, as seen in their folklore. Sierra Madre as a mother protecting her children from the ravages of Bugsong Hangin is deeply ingrained in the local cultural psyche. That’s a very good starting place for serious conservation efforts. Serious social action begins best in the heart,” Salceda said.

“Although it seems like the typhoon-proofing part isn’t exactly scientific. I consulted with experts, and it seems like it has less to do with Sierra Madre being a prominent land feature, and more with the fact that once a typhoon enters the North Luzon coastline, there isn’t any more water to help the typhoon regain strength, unlike, say the Visayas or Bicol.”

A bill creating a Sierra Madre Development Authority, House Bill No. 1972, is already filed in the House of Representatives. The bill is authored by Rep. Fidel Nograles.

“I like the idea. We can work on the details. But the Sierra Madre is one of our biggest sources of hydropower. It also has great potential to be a sustainable forestry area. Sadly, it tends to be where poorer areas of their respective regions are, so what tends to happen instead is unsustainable extraction, through kaingin, illegal logging, and other environmentally-harmful and economically-unsustainable practices.”

“It can be our own Tennessee Valley Authority, which was a major project the United States undertook to both conserve and use the Tennessee River basin during their recovery from the Great Depression. It created jobs, new energy sources, and also conserved a significant area for reservoirs, watersheds, and forest parks.”

“It’s a history lesson we can learn from, especially with Sierra Madre conservation.”

Salceda also believes that protecting the Indigenous Peoples that reside in the Sierra Madre by providing them onsite economic opportunities will protect the cultural and ecological value of the mountain range.

“I think a development plan that creates economic opportunities in Sierra Madre, as opposed to relocating indigenous peoples, is the best way to keep them in ancestral homelands while making good use of the mountain range’s potential.”

“Especially with climate change, the Sierra Madre will play a key role in continuing to protect the country, as a carbon sink and as a source of clean, renewable energy.”

“In Albay, we capitalized on the people’s deep and subconscious attachment to Mayon as a “mother.” That has helped us become a tourism giant, a cultural and culinary destination, and a global leader in biosphere conservation and climate change adaptation. The public’s affection for the Sierra Madre is an excellent foundation for good policies and programs to protect it.”

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