THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Davao recorded a total of 32 cases of illegally transported forest products with a total volume of 666.43 cubic meters (cu.m.) last year, down by nine cases compared to the preceding year.

In a comparative data of apprehensions of forest products in 2015 by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) and City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), it showed that Davao Oriental has six incidents with a total volume of 227.51 cu.m., Compostela Valley Province 8 (68.30 cu.m.), Davao del Norte 24 (478.83 cu.m.) and Davao del Sure 3 (106.74 cu.m.) with a total of 881.38.

In 2016, Davao del Norte tallied 18 incidents (327.56 cu.m.) while Compostela Valley had 10 (283.41 cu.m) and Davao del Norte with four (55.46). None was recorded in Davao del Sur.

Based on the DENR-Davao accomplishment report sent to SunStar Davao, a slight decrease of cases in terms of illegal logging was documented in the region. Seized were logs, lumbers and flitches of naturally grown forestry species.

These accomplishments were made possible through the combined efforts in intelligence gathering, actual apprehension between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and DENR representatives manning established checkpoints/patrol-based stations in various areas.

After finding probable cause of violation against identified perpetrators, eight cases were filed before the courts for violations of Presidential Decree 705 Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, wherein three cases are in Davao del Norte, three in Compostela Valley and two in Davao Oriental.

In a bid to end illegal activities considering the high demand of wood products, DENR-Davao conducted inspection and monitoring of the 84 wood processing plants and lumber dealers in the region.

“This was regularly conducted to avert concealment of illegally-sourced forest products and to show seriousness in the campaign of the department against illegal activities,” the DENR said.

Davao Region spans a land area of over 1.9 million hectares. Of this, 1,208,065 hectares comprised the forestland area and about 769,163 hectares classified as alienable and disposable lands.

“Considerably, as much as protection forests of the region, which consisted of 607,529 hectares, necessitate protection and conservation, production forests, with an area of 600,536 hectares through which National Greening Program (NGP) areas and other established plantations belong, also needed to be safeguarded from natural and man-made destruction. In fact, such was the reason for categorizing some parts of the region as major areas of concern,” the statement said.

On Monday, February 6, the tripartite committee member including the DENR, Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior and Local Government will meet to formulate the guidelines on the total logging ban in the country.

The unusual flooding in some areas in Mindanao last month that resulted to the billions of damage and thousands displaced were attributed to the illegal logging activities done in the forest, thus, President Rodrigo Duterte mulled on implementing total log ban to address the issue. (JCR)