In her efforts to stop illegal logging activities in Region XI, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Director Ruth M. Tawantawan is seeking the support and assistance from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which she has emphasized during her meeting with Major General Rafael C. Valencia of the 10th Infantry Division in Mawab, Compostela Valley Province.
With just two weeks upon her assumption as Regional Director of DENR-XI, Tawantawan immediately arranged the said meeting as the military plays a vital role in the Department’s campaign against illegal logging particularly in Compostela Valley Province where, as reported, perceived to be one of Region XI’s hotspots for illegal logging.
“To curb illegal logging activities is one of the marching orders of our DENR Secretary Gina Lopez. 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,” she said.
Valencia, on the other hand, expressed his full support not only in curtailing illegal logging but also illegal mining activities especially within their area of responsibility stressing that he has close coordination with the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau-XI.
One of the preventive measures that were discussed during the meeting in order to stop illegal logging activities is the establishment of DENR-AFP checkpoints in the area. “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 stressed.
Moreover, DENR-XI will also be conducting a refresher course on environmental laws and regulations as well as orientation on proper documentation in terms of apprehension of illegally-cut trees for the AFP personnel.
Prior to her meeting with the 10th ID, Tawantawan had a courtesy call with Lieutenant General Rey Leonardo B. Guerrerro of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan, Davao City and discussed to him the different Programs and Projects of the DENR and at the same time, solicit EASTMINCOM’s support in the implementation of these programs especially in the campaign against illegal logging activities in the region.
Aside from the military, Tawantawan also urged all the employees of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Compostela Valley Province to help out in intensifying all the campaigns of the Department especially that there are reports that Comval Province has a high rate of illegal logging activities.
“All of us must exert more efforts in eliminating this reputation and change the perception of the people about Comval in terms of illegal environmental acts. We can apply several ways like strengthen our IEC campaigns and inform the people of the various accomplishments of the DENR through press and photo releases or through radio and TV broadcasting,” Tawantawan said.