In a bid to intensify forest protection in Cagayan province, the provincial anti-illegal logging task force is created today through a partnership agreement.
The Cagayan Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force is chaired by Gov. Manuel N. Mamba and co-chaired by DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan.
The task force is a multi-sectoral group to back protection of the environment and sustain natural resource conservation and development particularly within the remaining forest areas of Cagayan.
As stated in the memorandum of agreement (MOA), the task force is created to “resolve the pressing issue on illegal logging, timber poaching and kaingin making which aggravated occurrences of flashflood that have devastated thousands of people and families in the province."
“The worst is yet to come for this province. We have to prepare for it,” Gov. Mamba said emphasizing the effects of environmental destruction particularly on the regular annual occurrence of flooding in the province. “We are the solutions to this problem. We need a paradigm shift,” he added.
The provincial local chief executive also conveyed the full support of the provincial government in the implementation of the DENR’s programs and projects.
In her message, Director Bambalan thanked the enforcement agencies on the partnership and for the provincial governor for taking the lead in the enforcement of environmental laws in the province. “Malaki ang maitutulong nito para matigil na ang iligal na pagpuputol sa ating kagubatan,” she said.The regional environment head underlined that the deployment of the enforcement bodies is a deterrent measure against illegal activities in the forests.
Director Bambalan also reported the numerous incidents of apprehension and seizure of forest products with the assistance of the uniformed personnel and local government units. “Sana lang po, bago pa nila naputol, nagawan na natin ng paraan,” she said.
The MOA provides that the DENR shall act as the lead coordinating government agency in the implementation of Executive Order 23 and enforcement of other forest and environmental laws, rules and regulations. The other members of the task force shall provide logistical support in the conduct of forest protection activities; additional manpower to man the established checkpoints; security in anti-illegal logging operations; investigative and technical expertise; and information gathering and dissemination, among others.
The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Provincial Directors of the Philippine National Police and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Officer, President of the League of Municipalities, Battalion Commanders of the Philippine Army, Group Commander of the Naval Task Group Fleet Marine Cagayan, Acting Station Commander of the Philippine Coast Guard, Regional Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, Provincial Prosecutor, President of the Liga ng mga Barangay, and President of the Sierra Madre Outdoor Club are members of the task force.
Prior to the MOA signing, Director Bambalan graced the flag ceremony of the provincial government where she discussed the priority programs including the mandate, vision and mission of the DENR.#