By Anna Liza Cabrido, PNA
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 12 (Soccsksargen) has intensified its efforts to curb violations of environmental laws, in partnership with law enforcement units.
Forester Dirie Macabaning, DENR-12’s enforcement division chief, said Monday they have launched a paralegal training program to help enhance the enforcement of environmental laws in the region.
He said they have already trained at least 50 personnel of the Police Regional Office12, regional police maritime group, Philippine Coast Guard, local government units, and DENR-12 field offices.
The initiative aims to strengthen the implementation of various laws, rules and regulations for the protection and conservation of natural resources, especially the remaining forests, he said.
“We’re equipping our partners and volunteers with knowledge on laws and policies that we implement to boost our campaigns against illegal activities,” Macabaning said in a statement.
He cited provisions of the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act, rules for the administrative adjudication of illegal forest products and machinery, equipment, tools and conveyances, and the guidelines and issuances for wood processing plant.
He said proper knowledge about such regulations would enable enforcers to take appropriate action in case of apprehensions.
The official specifically cited the cases of forest poaching, illegal logging or cutting of trees, and illegal wildlife trading.
Macabaning said illegal logging and forest poaching remains a major problem in the region as shown by the numerous apprehensions of illegally cut forest products these past months.
He said they have documented at least 69 cases of illegal transport of forest products since last year.
“This is a sad development for the office because it shows that illegal activities are still rampant in the region,” Macabaning said.
Aside from this, he said they have received reports on the rising incidence of illegal wildlife trading, especially involving endangered species from Indonesia and other neighboring countries.
“Region 12 is a known entry point for illegal wildlife trading, particularly General Santos City, and we want to curb this illegal act,” he added. (PNA)