Cagayan Valley officials step up forest protection efforts
by Ben Moses Ebreo
Tuguegarao City (March 24) -- Cagayan Valley officials here have proposed various strategies and multi-sectoral collaborative actions designed to intensify forest management and protection efforts in the region amid the increasing incidents of illegal logging and timber poaching.
The alarming state of forest management and protection was recently raised early this week during the Regional Development Council (RDC) - sponsored 1st Regional Forest Management and Protection Summit Monday at the Crown Hotel Pavillon here.
During the summit, Isabela governor Ma. Cielo Grace Padaca exposed several government officials who are allegedly in cahoots with illegal cutting and shipment of prohibited lumbers and logs in Isabela province, saying illegal logging continue to exist due to the massive support of high ranking government officials in the region.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional executive director Benjamin Tumaliuan said however that the strategic action plan covers forest law enforcement, livelihood, business and information, education, communication and advocacy components.
"This plan has been proposed to intensify our multi-sectoral efforts in managing and protecting our forest cover in the region," he said.
On Forest Law Enforcement, Tumaliaun said they will focus on strengthening their monitoring and surveillance activities through the conduct of monthly ground and aerial reports to media outlets, putting – up of a One Stop Monitoring Centers in barangay Illut in Cordon town in Isabela and barangay Calitlitan in Aritao town in Nueva Vizcaya, Capacity Building for Deputized Forest Officers through the conduct of paralegal trainings for deputized environment and natural resources officers and private organizations, judges, prosecutors and policemen and Strengthening Co-management of Devolved Forest Areas with local government units.
On Livelihood, Cagayan Valley officials are also pushing for the provision of viable alternative livelihood in 14 priority barangays or hotspot villages in the towns of Ilagan, San Mariano and Benito Soliven in Isabela province and in Baggao and Gattaran towns in Cagayan province through the conduct of trainings on farming technologies, technology demonstrations, provision of planting materials and agro-forestry seedlings, poultry and tilapia fingerlings.
On Business, harmonization of inter-department guidelines shall also be done through Regional Development Council (RDC) endorsement on One town One Product identification; capacitybuilding for furniture makers through the conduct of trainings for organized furniture makers on development and design using alternative raw materials and Strengthening co-management agreement with furniture makers through the formulation of incentive scheme to encourage furniture exporters to shift from premium to plantation species.
On IEC and advocacy, regional forest management and protection officials will also carry out wider dissemination of information on the importance of forest and forestry laws including policies at the grassroots level through school on air program, daily radio programs on forestry matters, cable TV guestings, environmental youth agenda workshops and creation of facebook account containing uploaded forestry information.
The Strategic Action Plan will be implemented by DERN, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Export, Department of Education (DepEd), National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Local Government Units, Philippine National Police(PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and RDC secretariat among others. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]