‘Save Sierra Madre today, every day’: Renewed calls after ‘Karding’s’ wrath

September 26, 2022 - 1:13 PM
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Photo of Sitio San Ysiro in Antipolo, Rizal at the foot of Sierra Madre on Feb. 13, 2021 (Philstar.com/Deejae Dumlao)

The World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines (WWF-Philippines) and other concerned Filipinos renewed once again called for the preservation of Sierra Madre amid the onslaught of Typhoon “Karding” (International name: Noru).

Sierra Madre is the longest mountain range in the Philippines that covers the northeast coast of Luzon from Cagayan to Quezon.

It is also considered the barrier or backbone of Luzon that protects the island from storms.

Renewed calls to save Sierra Madre

The WWF-Philippines on Monday, September 29 posted about the importance of the Sierra Madre and all the country’s forests against typhoons and floods.

“The Sierra Madre is the longest mountain range in the Philippines and plays a very important role by acting as a natural shield against typhoons and floods coming from the Pacific Ocean,” the organization said.

“With the rising sea levels, it is more than vital that we protect the Sierra Madre and all the forests in the country!” it added.

#SaveSierraMadre today and every day,” it also said.

Some social media users, meanwhile, reshared old content about Sierra Madre to make others aware about its importance.

Online users left new comments in an artwork of Kevin Eric Raymundo or Tarantadong Kalbo posted on Facebook that depicted the tragic fate of Sierra Madre.

Raymundo posted this on Nov. 13, 2020, after the onslaught of Typhoon “Ulysses.”

An information video titled “Kahalagahan ng Sierra Madre,” which was released on April 1, 2021, was also brought up online anew.

The info-video was released by a YouTube channel called “Info Pinas”.

To put emphasis on how Sierra Madre acts as a natural shield, several online users shared a screenshot of the wind conditions in the Philippines at the time of Karding’s arrival last Sunday. The screenshot was from Earth Nullschool.

The platform can be accessed on this link: earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions (nullschool.net).

In the screenshot, Karding’s strong winds were being blocked at the eastern portion of Luzon, where Sierra Madre is located.

Moreover, the keyword “Sierra Madre” also reached the trending topics on Twitter Philippines. It currently has over 82,800 tweets under its belt.

Exploitation vs Sierra Madre

The Forest Foundation Philippines cites mining, agriculture and illegal logging as the main exploiters of Sierra Madre’s resources.

“Despite the impactful benefits Sierra Madre provides, its resources are continuously exploited. While mining and agriculture are the main economic drivers of the provinces connected to Sierra Madre, these have started to
negatively affect the corridor’s ecosystem,” FFP said in a briefer.

“Resource exploitation, changes in land use, infrastructure development, and political neglect have far-reaching consequences for the inhabitants of Sierra Madre,” it added.

The Kaliwa Dam Project is also seen as a main threat to Sierra Madre.

The civic group Stop Kaliwa Dam Network and indigenous communities strongly opposed its construction because it will destroy a large portion of its already-diminishing forest cover.

READ: Why China-funded Kaliwa Dam, a possible alternate water source, is heavily opposed 

The online petition launched in 2020 to stop the dam’s construction once again circulated online amid calls to save the forests. It was addressed to former President Rodrigo Duterte.

RELATED: Calls to preserve Sierra Madre mountain range renewed after ‘Ulysses’ onslaught 

“We believe that this project will not address the problem but also make conditions worse for the Philippines,” the petitioners said.

“Alternative water solutions that are both cheaper and more sustainable (e.g. watershed rehabilitation, repairing and improving existing dams and water distribution facilities, water conservation policies) have been offered by various experts,” they added.