KORONADAL CITY, Aug. 3 — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Mindanao Region has shut down at least 13 sawmills due to their illegal operation.
DENR-12 Regional Director Adeluisa Siapno said of the 13 sawmills that her office has ordered closed, nine are in South Cotabato, three in Cotabato and one in Saranggani province.
She said more sawmills will be ordered close if they continue to operate despite the log ban imposed by the national government.
"We should continue planting trees, not cutting trees," Siapno said in a statement even as she reiterated the DENR's decision to run after loggers in the region.
Region 12 is composed of the provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and the cities of Koronadal, Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong and Gen. Santos.
She said sawmill operators have been warned of the DENR campaign to give them ample time to refrain from cutting trees and shift to other business.
The DENR national office has been campaigning for more trees planted throughout the country in line with the National Greening Program of President Benigno Aquino III.
"Now is the time for us to act together…stop logging and protect the environment," Analiza Gonzales, a member of the Save Mother Earth movement, based in South Cotabato.
She urged the regional and provincial officials to come up with ordinances or policies that would require to-be-wed couples to plant at least 30 trees before their marriage contract is issued by the municipal civil registrar's office.
Provincial officials should also encourage every citizen to plant trees in their respective residences and farms.
"We have been experiencing climate change, natural calamities and environmental destruction so we need to help one another," Gonzales said.
Aware that small scale logging still exists in the province, Gonzales urged the DENR to intensify the campaign on the prevention of cutting of trees and not only confiscate forest products already cut by illegal loggers. (PNA)