The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 2 and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have partnered anew to boost forest protection and anti-illegal logging efforts in Cagayan province.
Earlier today, DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan and Bridage Commander Steve Crespillo of the Philippine Army’s 501st Infantry Brigade signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the establishment of a military camp within the Kalbario–Patapat Natural Park in Sta. Praxedes town.
Cagayan Valley environment chief Gwendolyn Bambalan said the presence of the Philippine Army in the protected area will not only maintain peace and security but will also ensure the survival and protection of the Northern Luzon’s frontier.
"We appreciate the AFP for assuring us of your compliance with environmental regulations in the construction of military camps," Director Bambalan said.
She added the MOA is consistent with the agreement of the DENR and the Department of National Defense (DND) and compliant to the tall order of Secretary Roy Cimatu to prevent the cutting of trees instead of apprehending suspected illegal loggers while transporting forest contrabands.
In 2019, the national top officials of the DENR and DND entered into a MOA for the DENR to assist the AFP in the survey and the consequent issuance of appropriate presidential proclamations and/or special patents for military reservations and all other identified DND-AFP lots.
DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito de Leon who graced the event said the tactical base will enable the Army to extend the operational reach of its forces pursuing peace and security missions in the region. It will also assist the DENR in monitoring the entry and exit of forest products and the enforcement of environmental and forestry laws.
“The MOA serves as a firm and continuing step towards a long and strategic partnership between the AFP and the DENR to serve the best interest of our people,” he added.
For his part, Brigadier General Crespillo thanked the DENR for accepting the request for a military reservation at the boundary of Cagayan Valley and Ilocos Region.
“This is a welcome activity because it helps us in our pursuit of our mandate to secure the territory of the Philippines and of our people,” he said adding that through the partnership, the AFP will be able to support the implementation of environmental laws. “Our presence there will be deterrent to would-be destructors of whatever natural resources in the area,” he emphasized.
The signing of the agreement was witnessed by Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Saguiguit, DENR Assistant Regional Director Ismael Manaligod, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Eliseo Mabasa, Sanchez Mira Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Marina Galzote, Legal Chief Richard Jayson Garan, and Licenses, Patents and Deeds Chief Remedios Pauig.#