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Freeman Region

Mangrove planters hit harvest ban

- Ric V. Obedencio -

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines  — The nationwide ban on harvesting or cutting of mangroves, has raised howls of protest from some Boholano planters or holders of community-based forest management agreement and license.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources here said the ban is now in force, and this covers also the man-made mangrove forest in Banacon Island, which is the largest in Asia.

DENR said the agency is now being assailed by these license holders who said their livelihood is now being threatened. They said it was the government, through the DENR, who encouraged them to plant and grow these mangroves and then allowed them to harvest for livelihood.

Trading of bakhaw cuts has proven to be lucrative because of high prices and large demand from nearby island like Cebu for firewood and other uses.

The DENR admitted though that, since the enforcement of the ban on mangrove cutting, including the harvesting of nipa, illegal activities for this endeavor have been observed, and even found their way to social network sites and the Youtube.

President Benigno "P.Noy" Aquino III on Wednesday of last week issued Executive Order No. 23 declaring a "moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests nationwide." He also frozen the issuance and renewal of any logging and tree cutting nationwide.

Aquino's order came in response to calls from different non-government organizations and religious groups that cited the latest spate of floodings and landslides, allegedly due to illegal logging activities, threatening and destroying properties and farmlands and even killing some people.

On the moratorium of logging nationwide, DENR said Bohol is not likely affected since it has no logging industry, but it admitted that rampant cutting of endemic trees and other species used for firewoods in the province still persists.

DENR is tasked to be the lead agency in the newly-created Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force. It is also bound to review all existing logging agreements and immediately cancel those found to have violated forest laws.

The task force is further tasked to carry out forest certification system in keeping with the United Nations standards, close and disallow sawmills and other wood processing plants that are unable to present proof of sustainable sources of legally cut logs for a period of at least five years. (FREEMAN)

ANTI-ILLEGAL LOGGING TASK FORCE AQUINO BANACON ISLAND BOHOL BOHOLANO CEBU DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES EXECUTIVE ORDER NO LOGGING PRESIDENT BENIGNO UNITED NATIONS
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