DENR Caraga renews vow to prevent killer floods
by Herzon F. Gallego
Butuan City (8 October) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources particularly in Caraga Region has remained steadfast with its mandate in the imposition of forest laws, rules and regulations to prevent killer floods similar to the environmental catastrophe in Metro Manila that claimed hundreds of lives.
DENR Secretary Lito Atienza has been always focused on the "greening of the environment although some local officials may have that "lack of genuine concern to implement the environmental laws in their own locality.
Secretary Atienza has standing orders to the regional field officials to stop illegal logging and mining activities in their area of responsibilities "if only to preserve what is remaining of the forest resources for the benefit of all, and not of the few, for the sake of the next generation.
In Agusan del Sur for instance, which is considered as the country's remaining bastion of forest resources, the DENR has never relaxed its strict monitoring of the movements of forest products in the province.
The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Agusan del Sur Sixto C. Badua has reported that since January this year to date, a total of 22,279 pieces of illegal logs equivalent to 8,489.49 cubic meters and 6,693 pieces of flitches and lumber equivalent to 105,623.70 board feet has been confiscated by joint operatives of PNP, Philippine Army and DENR with the full support of the Provincial Governor Ma. Valentina Plaza, the Consortium of Civil Society Organization, Caraga Conference for Peace and Development and the Save Agusan Project.
Meanwhile, the DENR Regional personnel have corrected public impression that "graft and corruption in DENR have worsened.
The personnel said the regional management headed by Regional Executive Director Edilberto S. Buiser is always guided in his decisions in management by a group of environmentalists catholic bishops and priest led by Bishop Juan deDios Pueblos, non-government organizations, the academe, and the members of the media.
They said that the new management under RED Buiser has been always strict in its environmental policies, rules and regulations that there's little room for field people to commit irregularities.
A report submitted by RED Buiser to Secretary Atienza yesterday showed that there are 11 Integrated Forest Management Agreement and one SIFMA that are existing in the region. Three other investors have manifested their intention for renewal or conversion into IFMA.
The report said there are seven sawmills, 67 mini-sawmills, 14 veneer and plywood plants, one wood treating plant, 11 veneer plants and 2 resaws plants that are operating with existing permits most of which are located in Butuan City.
The DENR Caraga Region, the report said has 42 existing mining firm under the Mineral Productive Sharing Agreement (MPSA) which were established since 2004, three of which were likewise approved last year.
The DENR through the Land Management Sector have maintained its good accomplishment record over the last three years.
A total of 52,799 land titles were distributed to the landless people since 2001. Last year, the DENR has issued 9,329 patents under the Handog Titulo ng Pangulong Gloria program.
Since 2009 was declared as "Enforcement Year by Secretary Atienza, the DENR in Caraga Region has confiscated a total of 12,777.19 cubic meters of forest products region-wide.
The DENR in its continuous operation has succeeded in padlocking 97 illegally-operated mini-sawmills mostly located in Agusan del Sur. (DENR-13/PIA-Caraga) [top]