Armm is free of illegal logging, official says

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014


THE Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armms) is free from illegal logging activities, said Armm-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Hadji Kahal Kedtag, who admitted having created a lot of enemies because of their no-nonsense drive against it.

The secretary, however, refused to divulge the identities of the suspected illegal loggers in Armm. He revealed though that he had been ambushed before for simply doing his job as a forester.

Asked how they were able to stop illegal logging, Kedtag said they were able to enlist the help and cooperation of all sectors, including those who were involved in illegal logging before.

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"Ang pinauuna namin is ang mga military dahil may agreement kami na sila ang mag spearhead ng anti-illegal logging task force sa buong Armm. Kaya ngayon, we are happy to say nawala nang illegal logging sa rehiyon," said Kedtag.

Kedtag said that only 33 percent has remained in the forests within the Armm after decades of logging. He said though that they have started re-greening the region. They have produced 5.3 million of seedlings since 2011 with more than 2,200 hectares already developed.

He added that from 2011 up to the present, the apprehensions and confiscations of forest products within the Armm has reduced to 92 percent.

As illegal logging is decreasing, their revenue collection for regional wealth tax and permits has meanwhile increased.

In 2011, they only collected P689,978. In 2012, this increased by 700 percent to P5.45 million. In 2013, this improved to P18.1 million.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 21, 2014.

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