Issue of March 11, 2018

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Benguet board in quandary over pine tree resin tapping
by Cherry Sooc

Members of the Benguet Provincial Board are now caught in a dilemma regarding the conduct of oleoresin tapping in pine trees as a form of livelihood in the province.

This came after Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Julius T. Kollin called the attention of the board on Provincial Resolution 697 dated Aug. 25, 1980 banning the tapping of oleoresin in Benguet.

Oleoresin is a raw material used for the production of oil, cosmetics, and varnish.

Tuba and Kabayan are among the towns that conduct oleoresin tapping as a form of livelihood.

Board Member Florencio Bentrez said that Tuba endorsed the project on oleoresin tapping considering the explanation of the personnel from Department of Environment and Natural Resources that tapping resin does not cause extreme physical damage to a tree.

Kollin, however, said that oleoresin tapping damages pine trees.

He said that when pine trees are tapped, its natural growth is affected and will easily burn when a forest fire occurs.

He also cited a study conducted by environmentalist Michael Bengwayan showing that pine trees tapped become more prone to pest attacks.

Awan nga talaga ti mayat nga ited ti oleoresin tapping iti pine trees,” he said.

He added that the investors of oleoresin tapping will be the only ones who will benefit from the method and the pine tree will suffer irreparable damage.

He reminded the board that just like minerals, oleoresin is not renewable.

Kollin added that oleoresin as a source of livelihood is not really good as it is bought for only P13 P16 per kilogram.

In July and August 2015, the board passed resolutions favorably endorsing oleoresin tapping in Benguet. The board, however said that these resolutions do not supersede the 1980 resolution banning oleoresin tapping in Benguet.

Board Member Apolinario Camsol said that if Penro wants a total ban on oleoresin tapping, there must be recommendations to be offered so residents in communities in which it is considered as a livelihood will not turn to resin tapping.

Board Member James Guanso Jr. suggested that oleoresin tapping should be allowed in the municipalities endorsed by the sangguniang panlalawigan and that the remaining municipalities of Benguet should ban the activity pending the social acceptance of the community of resin tapping as a form of livelihood.

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