DENR halts kaingin
by S. Ramos, Jr.
MAITUM, Sarangani (8 February) -- Environment authorities yesterday stopped a kaingin or slash-and-burn operation in a barangay where burning of a wooded area barely started.
In a letter-complaint coursed thru the office of Mayor Elsie Perrett, Barangay Captain Wanan, two barangay kagawads and a landowner adjacent to the kaingin area alleged that "one Mr. Noli Peralta under the instruction of Mr. Mamerto Cardenas was cutting trees" in the forest area of barangay Ticulab.
Cardenas is forest management specialist at the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) based in nearby Kiamba town.
A four-man team from the regional Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office also asked Barangay Captain Fredimen Wanan to watch over the area and prohibit entry of unauthorized persons.
The team led by Ramon Embuscado, DENR chief of forest law enforcement, tasked the CENRO to inventory the cut trees.
The team took Global Positioning System readings at three points in the kaingin area Wednesday, February 6, to determine whether the site is alienable, disposable, or timberland.
Two days earlier, local officials sought for "immediate investigation" by the DENR of kaingin activities in barangay Ticulab where trees were allegedly cut in a public land.
The site of kaingin or slash-and-burn, which results to deforestation, covered some three hectares of forest cleared for burning.
Mayor Perrett on Monday (February 4) indorsed the letter-complaint to Jim Sampulna, DENR regional executive director, who acted swiftly by sending an investigating team.
The letter-complaint further stated an area of more or less three hectares have been cleared by Peralta "through the instruction of" Cardenas.
Barangay Captain Wanan disclosed he had summoned Peralta to appear at the Ticulab Barangay Hall to explain his side. "Cardenas also appeared for the purpose of affirming the statement" of Peralta.
"That when the Barangay Captain asked Mr. Cardenas, to stop cutting trees without the approval of the authorities concerned Mr. Cardenas averred that he is willing to answer and face the consequences of his action," according to the letter-complaint.
The complaint was signed by Wanan, barangay councilors Dominador Gusto and Edwin Peralta and resident Patricio Sobremonte whose land lies below the kaingin site.
The complainants asked the DENR "to cause for the immediate investigation regarding the above-quoted allegations and that if the said allegations are found to be true, we are requesting that disciplinary action be undertaken against Mr. Mamerto Cardenas and Mr. Noli Peralta to forestall offenses of the same nature in the future."
The Ticulab kaingin was brought to the attention of municipal officials Sunday (February 3), the same day DENR Secretary Lito Atienza announced he was taking "concrete moves to eliminate graft in DENR." (Sarangani IO/PIA) [top]