TWG reviews Capisaan Cave System’s status
The Capisaan Cave System Technical Working Group (CCS-TWG) chaired by CENR Officer Bernardino B. Aganon met last July 22 at the Saber Inn in Bayombong to review and update the CCS Management Plan that will be submitted to the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the DENR.
The activity was presided over by Atty. Junny Vic M. Andaya, Protected Area Superintendent (PAS) of the Casecnan Protected Landscape, who represented CENR Officer Aganon, Chief of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) that covers the Municipalities of Dupax del Norte, Dupax del Sur, Kasibu, and A. Castañeda.
PAS Andaya gave a brief presentation of the caves that form part of the CCS, namely, Lion, Sang-at Salog, Alayan, Malukbo, Gaia, Seven Pool, Sabrina, and Heaven, along with Ulap, Sabrina, and Heaven which are identified as separate caves from the CCS.
The group also had a brief discussion on the classifications of caves as applied to those located in Kasibu. According to DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2021-05, dated May 6, 2021, caves are classified according to the following categories:
Class I (with 7 sub-classifications) – Caves with delicate and fragile geological formations, threatened species, archeological and paleontological values, and extremely hazardous conditions. Allowable activities are limited to mapping, photography, educational, and scientific purposes and are closed to ecotourism activities.
Class II – Caves with areas or portions which have hazardous conditions and contain sensitive geological, archeological, cultural, historical, and biological values or high-quality ecosystem. It may be necessary to close sections of these caves seasonally or permanently. They are also open to experienced cavers or guided educational tours/visits.
Class III – Caves with no known threatened species and archeological, geological, natural history, cultural and historical values. These caves are safe for inexperienced visitors but should still be accompanied by cave guide/s. They may also be utilized, when appropriate, for other economic purposes such as guano extraction and edible birds’ nest collection.
Ms. Teresita Sermonia-Acosta, Executive Director of FRENDS (Friends of the Environment for Development and Sustainability), Inc., and other CCS-TWG members expressed their apprehension over the adverse effects of the large-scale mining operations near the said caves.
Ms. Acosta said that the presence of a huge multinational mining company in Kasibu and another one in the adjoining Municipality of Quezon is disturbing considering the adverse effects of their massive earth-moving activities that endanger the well-being of the CCS and other natural formations, along with the vast forests and fruit and vegetable plantations in those areas, and the whole province at large.
Ironically, the Province of Nueva Vizcaya is widely known as the “Watershed Haven of Region 02” and, just recently, its Kasibu town was declared by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as the “Citrus Capital of Luzon”.
The CCS-TWG members will be submitting the plans of action of their respective institutions that will form part of the overarching CCS Management Plan.