THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Davao Region and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are upbeat in effectively addressing the worsening cases of illegal logging through strengthening measures of apprehension.

The recent flooding that swept away houses and infrastructures, displacing thousands of families, was attributed to the continuous illegal logging operations in upland areas by unregulated operators, thus, resulting to bald mountains and depleted forest.

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez is keen in undertaking effort to mitigate the impact of deforestation to effectively enforce forest rules and regulations and apprehend persons doing unlawful activities.

DENR-Davao Region Director Ruth Tawantawan on Friday, February 17, sought the help of the 10th Infantry Division (ID) commander Major General Rafael Valencia in Mawab, Compostela Valley in abating illegal logging and mobilizing the anti-illegal logging task force.

Davao Region is considered as one of the hosts of rich forestry in the country and the province Compostela Valley has been perceived as a hotspot of illegal logging activities.

Tawantawan cited the significant role of the military forces in curbing illegal logging, thus, she personally asked their assistance to support the department's environment initiative.

"We are very serious on this drive, the reason why we are intensifying our campaign and to further strengthen our partnership with the AFP once again so we could solicit their support in battling illegal logging activities in this region," Tawantawan said.

Valencia vowed to extend full support not only in combating illegal logging but also the move of DENR against illegal mining activities especially within their area of responsibility. They also coordinated with the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau-11.

DENR-Davao Region will also conduct a refresher course on environmental laws and regulations for the AFP personnel and an orientation on proper documentation on apprehension of illegally-cut trees.

Both agencies also eye to put up DENR-AFP checkpoint to deter and confiscate illegally-cut logs/lumber in the natural and residual forests and apprehension of violators.

Tawantawan added that they are intensifying their information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns in different areas in the region to raise awareness among the public on the adverse impact of illegal logging.

"Our focus will be in areas within Compostela Valley Province particularly in Laak and some areas in Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental. We will jointly conduct IEC in each barangay to prevent cutting of banned species," Tawantawan said. (JCR)