DENR anti-illegal logging drive scores anew in N. Ecija

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- A big crackdown on illegally sourced lumber in Nueva Ecija recently resulted in the seizure of more than 6,000 board feet of lumber of premium hardwood species worth more than a million, environment officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here announced yesterday.

Paquito T. Moreno, Jr., DENR regional director in Central Luzon said combined forces of DENR, the 7th Infantry Division of Philippine Army (PA), Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives undertook the raid in a one-hectare compound in the village of Langla in Jaen town of Nueva Ecija by virtue of search warrant issued by executive judge Celso Baguio of Gapan City.

“Premium species of Yakal, Lauan, and Molave were found inside the compound without necessary documents. These species are banned for cutting and obviously they are illegally sourced out from our remaining natural forest in Sierra Madre mountains,” he explained.

He said the DENR is not issuing any permit for the extraction and utilization of these hardwood species.

According to Fred Sadueste, chief of the enforcement division, before the bust, the outfit posed as a hardware or construction outlet registered under Jocelyn Flaminianio, which as later revealed doubled as a wood processing facility.

“We are not tolerating our lumber dealer permit holder to used illegally sourced forest products for their business,” he said.

DENR believes that the Flaminiano group controls about 60 percent of the trading of illegally sourced lumber from the Sierra Madre mountains in Aurora, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan and this illegal practice has been going on for the last ten years.

The DENR operative said that the illegal forest product came from the Sierra Madre Mountain range in Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) town in Bulacan which pass through the river system of Sumacbao to Gen. Tinio in Nueva Ecija.

“We are serious in our campaign to curb once and for all any illegal forest activities and checking illegal market outlets of lumber is one of the best way to stop it,” he said.

There are 12 registered lumber dealership in Nueva Ecija or a total of 316 in Central Luzon.

DENR operatives were also able to seize assorted wood processing equipment.

The DENR is now preparing criminal and administrative charges to be filed against the owner of the wood processing facility.

If proven guilty, the offender could face imprisonment of more than 10 years under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code, for violation of section 77 of the Presidential Decree (PD) 705 as amended or the Revised Forestry Code involving possession of illegal sourced forest products.

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Upland farmers use cost-efficient technology to reforest grassland area in Zambales

A group of upland farmers has helped the government in bringing back trees in a portion of grassland ecosystem in Zambales using cost-efficient way and by enhancing the establishment of second-growth forest, environment officials here revealed. 

Arthur Salazar, deputy director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office, said the Malatapi Community Livelihood Center, Incorporated (MCLCI) in Candelaria, Zambales, a people’s organization (PO) and beneficiary of the DENR’s community-based forest management program (CBFMP) has managed to reforest a total of 60-hectare grassland portion of their CBFMP area without planting any seedlings or additional cost from the DENR but through assisted natural regeneration (ANR). 

“What these upland farmers did is to find surviving tree species or seedlings including wildlings in the grassland area, then, they uprooted the grass around the tree, combined with grass pressing by foot to clear the surrounding of the tree species from weeds. This method of forest restoration is technically called as ANR,” he explained. 

He said ANR is a cost-efficient technology of rehabilitating degraded forest land and shrub vegetation by taking advantage of trees already growing in the area, and by protecting and nurturing it. 

“They have protected the tree species from grass fire and grazing by establishing fire lines or fire breaks to make sure its survival. They have also constructed look-out tower for regular monitoring against any forest disturbance,” he said. 

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