MATI CITY, Davao Oriental - The environment office in Southern Mindanao urged companies with logging permits in this city to temporarily cease its operations due to the growing opposition by some church leaders.

In a memorandum dated July 8, 2010, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Davao Region Director Jim Sampulna directed provincial environment officer of the DENR to "prevail upon the permitees to desist from further operations until the issues with the community have been cleared and mutual agreement reached between the parties closely facilitated and supervised jointly with the local government units at all levels."

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Sampulna's order stemmed from the complaint of parishioners of Barangays Macambol and Dawan led by Father Joselito Basilad and Sister Stella Matutina regarding the issuance of the private land timber permits (PLTP) to the PhilYoubang Mining Company that operates in Sitios Sopsopon and Catmonan.

The order, however, clearly stated that the DENR has found the PLTP holder to be "compliant with the terms and conditions of the permits" thus all that the agency could do is appeal to the permitees to cease from their operations for the meantime.

Sampulna also ordered the environment officer in the area to conduct massive information campaign in the area.

Last week, Matutina said that despite the DENR memorandum though, PhilYoubang still continued with their operation whose permit will reportedly expire at the end of this month.

A PLTP is a permit issued to a landowner for the cutting, gathering and utilization of naturally grown trees in private lands as per DENR Administrative Order No. 2000-21. (BOT)