Following the series of forest fires in Benguet Province, Congressman Eric Go Yap recently filed House Resolution no. 1603 seeking inquiry on the capability of government agencies in dealing with this kind of disasters. With the recent surge in forest fires across various regions, Yap said a need for a robust and coordinated approach to forest fire management has become increasingly apparent.

“To date, more than 20 forest fires have been recorded in the province this year. We filed House Resolution No. 1603, urging the House Committee on Natural Resources to conduct an inquiry into the capacity and readiness of appropriate government agencies in dealing with forest fires for the purpose of prevention and containment of such disasters as well as the immediate rehabilitation and / or reforestation of damaged areas,” Yap said.

Yap’s resolution also seeks to address this pressing issue by assessing the preparedness and effectiveness of government agencies tasked with forest fire prevention, containment, and rehabilitation. “Aside from the resolution
we filed, we are also requesting audience with DENR, OCD, and BFP to discuss their capacities and needs for intervention. In order to support maximizing the capacity of our fire trucks, we also turned over fire hoses to strategic fire stations in the province,” added Yap.

Yap added the inquiry will focus on identifying any gaps or deficiencies in the existing framework for forest fire
management and recommending legislative measures to address these shortcomings. “We are in close coordination with the barangays, LGUs in assessing the extent of the damage of the forest fires that recently broke out, so as we can extend assistance to the families affected. Our Mobile Tulong is prepared to provide immediate aid, to distribute food packs and other necessities,” the solon added.

Yap also emphasized the importance of proactive measures in mitigating the impact of forest fires on communities, biodiversity, and the environment while highlighting the need for a multi-faceted approach to forest fire management, encompassing both preventive measures and post-disaster interventions. “We are also in the process
of preparing the distribution of financial assistance to those families whose livelihood were affected by the forest fires. We are gathering the list of affected families so they will be included in our next payout,” added Yap.

Yap’s inquiry also aims to pave the way for evidencebased policies and strategies to mitigate the impact of forest fires and protect the nation’s forests and safeguarding the country’s natural resources and enhancing its resilience to
environmental hazards. “Given that the air quality is deteriorating given the situation in vicinities near the forest fires, we encourage our kakailyan to wear face masks and if required by the LGUs, to evacuate the area for their safety,” the solon said.

Amianan Balita Ngayon