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PIA Press Release

Quick Response Team on forest and watershed destruction holds briefing

by SC Aro

La Trinidad, Benguet (25 October) -- To be on standby alert for immediate response on reported illegal forest activities, a Quick Response Team (QRT) that would help in curbing the mounting problems of forest and watershed destruction will be holding a briefing on October 27 to equip the members in effectively carrying out their functions.

In a meeting held recently attended by concerned sectors, among the identified topics to be tackled during the briefing would be environmental laws, procedural aspect on the investigation and filing of cases and developmental programs and policies allowed in forest and watershed areas.

Led by Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the QRT is composed of agencies and organizations mandated to advocate and ensure sustainable development on the judicious use of natural resources, law enforcement agencies and provincial prosecutor's offices.

The Regional Development Council Niche Committee on Watershed Cradle and Balanced Ecosystem Model recommended the creation of task forces and quick response teams purposely to contain and hasten the resolution of the escalating problem on forest and watershed destruction in the region.

In the region's advocacy as the Watershed Cradle of the North, there is the need to address the problem of forest destruction that would greatly impact water resources.

Seeing the complexity of forest and watershed destruction problem and considering the resources of DENR - CAR as it lacks forest officers and logistics, the RDC adopted Resolution No. CAR-66 series of 2008 which calls for the creation of an inter-agency and local government unit task forces which address forest destruction in the tri-boundary areas of Benguet, Ifugao and Mt. Province including other hotspot areas such as Mount Pulag, Mount Polis and Mount Data.

Among the functions of QRT is to adopt measures in countering the continuing destruction of watersheds/forests of the Cordillera. It will also gather and collate evidences for the proper investigation and prosecution of violations.

The team will provide support services for the immediate response to violations, particularly, to facilitate intelligence, investigation, apprehensions, and the filing and prosecution of cases.

QRT members also include DILG, NIA, PNP, NBI, NCIP, DA, DAR and PIA. (PIA) [top]

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