Issue of September 8, 2019
Mt. Province
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ENRO hopes for approval of batangan system guidelines
by Alaska Turaray

Mountain Province had the highest number of illegally acquired and transported forest products.

From January to July, 6,522.9 board feet of assorted lumber worth P222,926.7 were apprehended in the province.

This represents 55 percent of the 11,815.82 board feet of assorted lumber worth P563,398.73 that were confiscated in the Cordillera during the first semester this year.

Newly installed Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer-in-Charge Joel T. Behis lamented this, saying a new approach is needed for the people in the province to finally cooperate in the agency’s forest protection efforts.

The issuance of the implementing guidelines of the proposed batangan system as part of the province’s Sustainable Traditional Indigenous Forest Resources Management Systems and Practices is seen to help address the problem on illegal logging in the province.

“While information and education campaign remains the agency’s strong arm to curb the illegal practices that ruin our forests, it is also important to lay a responsive and appropriate program that appeals to the people,” he said.

The operationalization of the provincial forest protection and conservation system is also seen to help preserve the remaining forests in the province as well as harmonize customary laws with national laws for the proper use of the natural resources.

The implementation of batangan hangs in the balance as it is still under review by the DENR central office since its documentation and submission to the agency in 2018.

Behis cited the need for the creation of a separate bureau to enforce environmental laws so that the DENR could implement its developmental efforts without being dragged down by issues that require the imposition of force against environmental offenders.

“Let the DENR concentrate in its conservation and developmental efforts; we need an equal if not a greater force as environmental offenders are now starting to be armed. It is time for the creation of a bureau to take on this task,” he said.

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