DENR launches hunt for timber smugglers in CARAGA Region
by Louie Ceniza
Butuan City (17 February) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is conducting a massive search for the areas where timber smugglers are operating to pin them down and stop their nefarious operations.
This was cited as a major objective of the anti-illegal logging campaign in Caraga Region this year.
Caraga DENR Regional Executive Director (RED) Edilderto Buiser launched the search in pursuance of the priorities of DENR Secretary Jose L. Atienza Jr. in the region, which focus on the protection of the environment and the conservation of natural resources.
In his first management conference in 2009 with his forestry officials in the region, provinces and city in the regional office here, RED Buiser has also issued instructions to his senior forestry officers to identify the persons behind illegal logging activities in their areas to enable them to check their movements.
Buiser has likewise instructed the five PENROs and 13 CENROs at various areas in the region to continue their tree-planting activities.
"Environment preservation and forest protection must join together, and this must be continued without letup," RED Buiser said.
In line with the program of Secretary Atienza to put an end to the destruction of forests and continue reforestation, RED Buiser directed field foresters to let various groups, including the local government units, non-government agencies, private organizations, the academe, religious sectors, transport sectors, employees of the national government, participate in environment preservation and forest protection.
RED Buiser ordered field personnel to identify and locate those behind timber poaching.
He said that the DENR-CARAGA Region has already coordinated with the law-enforcement especially the Environmental Law Enforcement Task Force (ELETF) headed by former Manila Police District Director Pedro E. Bulaong to strengthen DENR's campaign against environmental law violations, especially against illegal logging.
Early this year, RED Buiser reshuffled the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer, warning them that they are accountable for whatever environmental violations that may happen in their respective municipalities and provinces.
RED Buiser said that the reorganization in the DENR is a continuing process, at the same time admonishing the officials on the "one-strike" policy the department is implementing. This means that only one verified report of any environmental violation, such as illegal logging or illegal mining happening in their respective areas is enough ground for the officials' suspension.
"I will ensure that the full force of the law will be meted out against anyone who will violate the environmental laws because the certainty of punishment is the best deterrent to the commission of a crime," RED Buiser said. (CCPD/PIA-Caraga) [top]