The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here recently donated a motorized boat to the 91st Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army in an effort to boost patrolling and monitoring efforts in the coastal and forestland areas of Aurora.
Paquito Moreno, Jr., executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon, said the Php 500,000-worth vessel would be supplemental in the heightened environmental protection efforts in the region, particularly in the forestland areas of Aurora which has been considered as among the hotspot areas for illegal logging.
“The turn-over of this vessel to our colleagues in the Army would augment our groundworks to fulfill the marching order of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu of preventing the cutting of trees in our forests, protected areas and watersheds,” Moreno said, adding that this move would also avert unscrupulous groups from illegally transporting forest products by floating them down the river systems and other waterways.
He stressed that with the strong collaboration with the Army, Philippine National Police and other environment authorities, the number of apprehended forest products in Region 3 has significantly decreased from more than 218,000 bd. ft. in 2020 to only 79,300 bd. ft. in 2021.
“This figure is a strong manifestation that even with limited forest rangers patrolling and monitoring our forest areas, our sustained efforts and strong alliance with partner agencies will facilitate extensive guarding and defense of our environment and natural resources from any destructive activities,” Moreno ended.
For his part, 91st IB Commanding Officer Ltc. Reandrew Rubio expressed his gratitude for this gesture of support they received from the DENR, noting that this would not only strengthen their environmental protection efforts, but would also aid their rescue and relief operations during calamities.
The turn-over ceremony was witnessed by Cimatu during his visit in the DENR provincial office in Aurora.
Central Luzon has a total forestland area that is equivalent to 942,387 hectares. Of the seven provinces in the region, Aurora is second with highest forestland area of 191,946 hectares. (-30-)