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PIA Press Release
2006/11/08

Feature: Aging forest rangers, DENR's problem

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (8 November) -- Aside from logistics and resources, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is confronted by the problem of aging forest rangers which is one of the cause of the agency's poor performance.

DENR XI director Ricardo Calderon disclosed that one major limitation of his department in effectively monitoring logging operations in the four provinces of the region is the lack of active and youthful rangers.

Calderon admitted that the job of a forest ranger is very vital to identify illegal operators in his area of responsibility. However, he observed that most rangers in his region are no longer fit to do the job and so there's a need for new set of recruits to intensify the campaign against illegal logging.

This he bared after receiving the petition from a church group called St. James Parish MultiSectoral Alliance based in Cateel, Davao Oriental. The said group has raised the concern of massive logging due to tenurial programs of the DENR like the Integrated Farming Management Agreement (IFMA) which was allegedly used as a tool for the proliferation of illegal logging.

Meanwhile, Alliance chairperson Ricky Arizola commented that the age of forest rangers is not much of a problem in implementing the job of the said agency.

" It's not their age but the full commitment of officials to strictly follow and implement policies," he said.

The said alliance also noted the obvious operations of politicians engaged in the illegal trade of logs which was confirmed in the accomplishment report of the Cateel Philippine National Police naming elected officials as owners of vehicles used in the hauling of illegal logs.

" It would be hard for anybody to fulfill his duty if certain big personalities are behind the trade," Arizola added.

Alliance members suggested to the DENR not just to solve the issue by recruiting more forest rangers but to be more strict and committed in carrying out policies that would not spare the rich and the mighty. (PIA XI) [top]

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