THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday said it has successfully eliminated illegal logging activities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) due to incessant and fearless approach that saved the remaining 33 percent of the region’s forest covers.
DENR-ARMM Secretary Hadji Kahal Kedtag said the campaign relied heavily on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as implementer of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Executive Order No. 29 that banned illegal logging activities in the country.
“We are proud to say that in ARMM, there is no illegal logging operations anymore. Zero,” said Kedtag. “The military was very helpful in the campaign to end the operations of illegal loggers in the region.”
The DENR and Department of National Defense agreed to assign AFP as chair of the anti-illegal logging task force.
Ketag said apprehension and confiscation of illegally cut forest products was reduced in ARMM after the EO was issued on 2011. It was the same period when ARMM even prohibited the cutting of privately-planted trees for a year.
Alongside the ban on logging, the regional government also implemented reforestation program to rehabilitate denuded mountains.
The regreening program has so far distributed 2.3 million seedlings to different towns and provinces of the region. Since 2011, more than 2,200 hectares of forests have been replanted.
Also supporting the regreening program of the region is the Hineleban Foundation, Inc. under the Mindanao Rainforest Initiative. The partnership has a budget of P28 million and this seeks to primarily rehabilitate the forests of Wao and Bumbaran in Lanao del Sur.
A paper on the project noted that it is aimed at bringing “back the pristine condition of the target areas and ultimately, the biodiversity of life in these areas.”