DILG to use all resources vs illegal logging, mining
(The Philippine Star) – November 29, 2020 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has vowed to mobilize all resources against illegal logging and illegal quarrying in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said that new strategies would be implemented to protect the country’s remaining forest cover and threatened habitats.
The National Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force, established under Executive Order No. 23 under the previous administration, will be called to a meeting by the DENR.
The Task Force includes the DILG, DENR, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as its members.
“I know we are still in a pandemic but this program cannot wait, otherwise we are sowing the seeds of our own destruction as a planet. Climate change is here and we have to face it,” Malaya said in a statement.
The DILG has committed to mobilize local government units (LGUs), the PNP and other agencies under it to meet the goal of the National Greening Program that aims to rehabilitate some 1.2 million hectares of forest lands by 2022.
Data from the PNP showed that from January to October this year, the police conducted 6,710 anti-illegal logging operations and arrested some 3,336 illegal loggers across the country.
This has led to the recovery of 3.6 million board feet of lumber illegally cut.
“We have filed 1,145 cases in court against the suspects. There are still many violators of our environmental laws,” Malaya added.
He warned that the PNP would make warrantless arrests of illegal loggers caught in the act, as provided for under Presidential Decree 705.
The DILG has also directed the PNP to set up more checkpoints in all forest areas in coordination with city or municipal officials and regional DENR officers.
Sen. Bong Go said the government’s stepped up effort against illegal logging could go a long way in reducing the impact of natural disasters.
“This campaign must be strengthened, we must take care of the environment, especially the mountains. We should plant (trees) because that will protect us from flooding,” he said.
He said towns at the foot of mountains are the most vulnerable to the effects of forest denudation and quarrying.
“I’m urging the government, those in the executive, to please fully implement measures to stop illegal logging. Let’s fight, let’s stop this as well as illegal quarrying,” he said.
Go also vowed to take part in any Senate investigation of the destructive effect of the release of water from Magat Dam on the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela during the onslaught of typhoon Ulysses early this month.
“In the Senate, we work in aid of legislation. If there’s need to investigate, we will investigate and I will participate,” he said, adding that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) may have some explaining to do.
He again batted for the passage of a measure he authored – Senate Bill No.205 – seeking the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said yesterday its field offices are now allowed to release relief supplies to LGUs even without an official request from local officials to speed up delivery of aid to communities affected by disasters.
The DSWD said the new policy is part of its efforts to streamline the process of providing relief assistance and basic services to calamity-stricken areas. – Janvic Mateo, Cecille Suerte-Felipe