THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Army (PA) to further boost the protection and development of the remaining forests area in Bulacan.
DENR-Central Luzon Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr. said the PA, particularly the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) based in Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan, will aid the DENR in its campaign against anti-illegal logging in the Sierra Madre mountain range portion of the province, including the development of an area under the National Greening Program (NGP).
“The support of the Philippine Army is a big boost in our anti-illegal logging campaign. They have been our steady and reliable partner in the enforcement of forestry laws. And this time they will also assist us in the protection and maintenance of established NGP plantations,” he said.
He said the partnership will surely help prevent the actual cutting of trees in the forest instead of the traditional approach of apprehending suspected illegal loggers while transporting forest contrabands.
“Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu’s order to us is to prevent the cutting of trees to ensure the survival of our forest,” he noted.
Under the agreement, the DENR will survey the identified 14-hectare land for the jungle-based and training detachment (JBTD) of the FSRR in Kalawakan village in Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) town.
The DENR will also provide the FSRR the necessary training in the implementation of NGP including seedling production and plantation protection and maintenance.
On the other hand, the FSRR will ensure the protection and maintenance of the JBTD area and assist the DENR in the campaign against illegal logging.
For his part, Lieutenant General Jose C. Faustino Jr., commanding general of the PA, vowed to strengthen the forest protection efforts and further develop the NGP plantations in the province.
“The agreement will further strengthen the alliance between the DENR and FSRR to foster environmental protection and end once and for all the illegal logging here in Bulacan,” he said.
Moreno expressed his gratitude to the PA for their support in the government's forest protection and greening program.
Meanwhile, the DENR also awarded a special patent covering some 49 hectares to the Camp Tecson of the PA as part of the “Handog Titulo” program of the government and under the DENR administrative order (DAO) 2016-21, also known as the guidelines governing the processing of the request for proclamation and issuance of Special patents over agricultural lands.
Earlier, the DENR in Tarlac forged a MOA with 10 local Philippine National Police (PNP) and the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company in the province to further protect and develop the 20-hectare established forest plantations in Tarlac under the National Greening Program (NGP).
Since 2011, DENR-Central Luzon has established more than 122,000 hectares of forest plantations within degraded watersheds and forestlands in the region.