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DENR Davao monitors 73 areas for illegal logging activities

DAVAO CITY, March 30 – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here has been monitoring 73 barangays in the Davao Region for alleged illegal logging activities.

DENR regional executive director Jaime Sampulna said major sources of illegal timber are Compostela Valley where 30 barangays are under surveillance; Davao Oriental with 19 barangays, Davao del Sur with 11 barangays; Davao City with 10; and Davao del Norte with three.

Sampulna said Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte are the three major sources of timber, producing 112,116.99 cubic meters of logs which earned for the government P22.017 million in revenues last year. They also confiscated 1,086.74 cubic meters of illegally cut trees with an estimated market value of P3.2 million.

Meanwhile, Sampulna said they recently hired more than 200 individuals as forest rangers from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army, Multi-Sectoral Forest Protection Committee (MFPC) members, non-government organizations, local government units, people’s organizations and tribal leaders. They will be deployed in all forested areas in the region.

He said the deployment of forest rangers is in compliance with special deputation orders with one-year duration to help the forest rangers. They will monitor a total forest cover of 461,182.77 hectares in the region.

He said 15 wood processing companies in the region were given clearances to resume operations after they complied with the requirements set in Malacanang’s Executive Order No. 23 imposing indefinite log ban nationwide.

EO 23 which declares a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and the residual forests and creating the anti-illegal logging task force was signed by President Benigno C. Aquino III on March 7 as part of the climate change adaptation.

Regional technical director for forestry Hardinado Patnugot clarified that EO 23 does not mandate a total log ban but only identifies specific areas for cutting trees. The confiscated illegal trees will be donated to the Department of Education (DepEd) to build chairs for public elementary schools.

“We need to coordinate with DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) because we have 18 million students in the country and if they will plant trees, it will already be a big help in our campaign,” he said. (PNA) LAP/FFC/JLC/ldp

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