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PNP ordered to run after illegal loggers
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has tasked the PNP to mount a campaign against illegal logging, following the unprecedented flooding in many parts of the country during recent typhoons.
AFP/Ted Aljibe, File

PNP ordered to run after illegal loggers

Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — From its war on drugs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has a new battle to fight, this time against illegal logging.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has tasked the PNP to mount a campaign against illegal logging, following the unprecedented flooding in many parts of the country during recent typhoons.

Año gave the instruction to PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas at a recent management committee meeting.

“In addition to war on drugs and criminality, one of the priorities of the PNP is war on illegal logging,” Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said at a press briefing.

Malaya said Año particularly blamed logging activities in Cagayan and Isabela provinces in the Cagayan Valley region for the massive flooding in the region.

“Illegal loggers in Cagayan have not stopped. One of Secretary Año’s orders is an intensified campaign against illegal logging – to be spearheaded by the PNP,” Malaya said in Filipino.

President Duterte earlier ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to look into mining and logging activities in the region after most parts of Cagayan Valley were submerged in muddy floodwaters.

He vowed to improve efforts against illegal mining and logging to prevent a repeat of the disaster.

At least 24 were left dead following the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses and the massive flooding in Region 2.

The DILG, its attached agencies and local government units (LGUs) have also pledged support for a national tree planting initiative, involving the planting of 200 million trees.

Malaya said they hope to start the tree planting program by next year. “The DILG will release memorandum circulars and department orders encouraging massive planting of trees in support of the national greening program, from the barangay up to the highest level of LGU,” Malaya added.

Meanwhile, Malaya said that the DILG is satisfied with the action taken by LGUs in their pre- and post-disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts.

“I can say – in my time – they did their best. We witnessed the efforts of LGUs,” he said. “Many of them, a vast majority of them, rose up to the challenge from pre-to post disaster relief and rehab.”

He noted the COVID-19 pandemic and the onslaught of strong typhoons one after another had been a big challenge for local chief executives.

At least one local chief executive – Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano – is in hot water for not being in his jurisdiction at the height of Typhoon Ulysses. He was on a family vacation in Batangas when Ulysses devastated the Cagayan province. He is under investigation by the DILG.

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