The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Bicol has assured the public that it will take the lead in strictly implementing President Benigno Aquino III’s Executive Order (EO) 23 that places the entire country under an indefinite log ban.
EO 23, entitled “Declaring a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the national and residual forests and creating the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force,” was issued last Feb. 3 in light of massive flooding and landslides that have killed scores of people and displaced more others in Bicol and several parts of Mindanao, Eastern Visayas.
The Order was issued in the wake of findings that the unabated illegal logging activities in these areas remained to be the main culprit of those disasters.
Under the EO, the DENR would be restricted from issuing logging permits and contracts “in all natural and residual forests,” including renewing tree cutting permits in all forests all over the country.
“Our field offices have been instructed to abide by the Order and rigorously monitor activities in identified natural forest in the region and prosecute all violators until they are meted with fines and penalties as provided by the law,” DENR Bicol’s regional spokesman Alfredo Araya on Monday said.