MULTI-USE zones should be allowed in Salvador Benedicto to further develop the economic activities in the area.

This is the reaction of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson as he backs the plan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to declare legal the illegal structures at the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP) as a measure to address the prevailing environment issues hounding forest parks in the province.

The national government has invested a lot in the road network. In fact the roads now are very wide. If you introduce a road definitely you can expect economic activities, Lacson said.

“Let’s be more realistic. Let us already allow multi-use zones in that area in order to even further develop economic activities. Right now especially during weekends you can see a lot of visitors in the area and it’s good that we already have restaurants and coffee shops,” Lacson pointed out.

“I’m not against that move of legalizing the structures especially those in business,” Lacson said.

He said that the areas should be determined but thickly forested areas should not be touched while those along the road, business should be allowed to prosper in Salvador Benedicto.

Undersecretary Jim Sampulna on the sidelines of the 2nd Research and Development Congress on East Asian-Australasian Flyway for Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City made the statement about legalizing the illegal structures at NNNP.

Sampulna, the former regional director of DENR-Western Visayas and head of the Protected Area Management Board, said the agency will tighten the measure to protect the NNNP.

Though, the government, he said, can help about a hundred of structures considered illegal to become legal through Special Agreement within Protected Area (Sapa) application.

“They are illegal mainly because they are situated in a natural park,” Sampulna said, adding that “but we will just legalize their stay there.”

The undersecretary recalled that before he left the region, he has been urging establishments to apply for Sapa.