Geopark seeks gov’t help to protect reforestation project from quarrying

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2020   •   780

Masungi Georeserve

“Our trees are bleeding.”

This is according to a post of the Masungi Georeserve on February 26. Their Facebook post showed barbed wires driven into trees in one of the reforestation site in Masungi.

The geopark, located in the Rizal province, reiterated that the area is a geohazard zone as stated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

“It is also part of a larger protected area—the Upper Marikina River Protected Landscape—where quarrying and other extractive activities are banned,” their post reads.

The Masungi Georeserve is now waiting for the official order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protect its reforestation project from quarrying.

The geopark wants the strict implementation of the Department Order 1993-33 which prohibits extractive industries, particularly mining and quarrying, in Masungi and its vicinity.

A petition has also been put up to save the Masungi Georeserve from quarrying.

“We are hopeful that the Central Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will finally release an official order on the quarry, and implement the laws that protect Masungi and the wildlife that call it home,” according to a recent post of Masungi Georeserve.—AAC

Five suspected illegal loggers arrested in Bulacan

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Five suspected illegal loggers have been arrested in the forested area of Doña Remedios Trinidad in the province of Bulacan during anti-illegal logging operations.

The area is part of the Angat Watershed Reservation under the Proclamation No. 505.

The operation was spearheaded by the combined operatives of the DENR Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) based in Baliwag, Bulacan together with personnel from the National Power Corporation (NPC)- Angat Watershed Team (AWAT) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) in Bulacan,

Authorities also seized more than 1,600 board feet of chainsawn dipterocarp lumber worth over P170,000 including three chainsaws and five motorcycles.

The forest contrabands are now under the custody of CENRO Baliwag. 

The DENR has already filed criminal charges against the suspects for violating the Forestry Code of the Philippines (P.D. 705) and the Republic Act No. 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002.

Possession of endangered wild plants is punishable by up to 12 yrs, P1M fine — DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Many Filipinos are turning to gardening to relieve the stress, anxiety and the boredom of being locked down for months since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak early this year.

The craze created so-called “plant parents,” “plantitos” and “plantitas” who prefer plants, instead of animals, as their home pets.

The pandemic has introduced to this generation some of the rarest and the most exotic plants found in the Philippines. 

But authorities are reminding the public to be aware of the plant species they have at home. 

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), around 1,000 species of plants are currently in the agency’s list of endangered plants.

Taking these plant species from their natural habitat is against the law as they play important roles in maintaining ecological balance in the environment they live in.

DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau Director and Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon in an interview with UNTV said wild plants provide shelter or food to wild animals and insects which also contribute to the balance in the forest and control the spread of certain viruses.

The official warned of grave consequences if these natural habitats of wild animals are destroyed.

‘Lahat ng mga zoonotic diseases, because ang mga habitat ng mga hayop na ito ay nagalaw o na-disrupt, ang tendency ay lumabas sila sa kanilang natural habitat (Zoonotic diseases [could emerge], because when habitats of wild animals are destroyed or disrupted, they tend to move out of their natural habitats), Calderon explained.

“Nagkakaroon sila ng interaction sa mga domestic animals so nata-transfer ang mga virus na ito (It brings them into contact with domestic animals and and transfers the virus to the latter),” he added.

DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau has tightened its security in the country’s ports to combat smuggling of plant wildlife and critically endangered plant species. 

This pandemic has seen a large variety of plants surfacing on the market.

Calderon said they understand that plants can be a source of additional income in this time of crisis but the public should be aware of certain responsibilities.

“We support this kind of hobby or small business as long as it is compliant, as far as existing laws are concerned,” the official said.

The DENR encourages the public to report poachers of endangered plant wildlife.

The list can be viewed in DENR’s official Facebook Page.

Recently, some owners of endangered plant wildlife in Zamboanga City voluntarily handed over their plants to the DENR.

Possession, collection, or poaching of these critically endangered fauna is punishable by 12 years imprisonment and a fine of up to P1-million pesos  in violation of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, the DENR said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DENR urged public to report poachers, collectors of illegal wildlife plants

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 9, 2020

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged the public to report illegal poachers and collectors of wildlife amid reports of rampant illegal trade amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Paquito Melicor said cutting, collecting and gathering wild plants in the forest is a violation of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

“We want to remind everyone that collection and trade of threatened species are prohibited unless such acts are covered by a permit issued by the DENR, please help us protect our wildlife by not patronizing and reporting these illegal activities,” he said.

To report wildlife related crimes, please contact the DENR- Community Environment Offices nearest you through the following numbers:

CENRO Cebu City – 254-2565
CENRO Argao – 367-7387
CENRO Tagbilaran City – (038) 412-1026
CENRO Talibon – (038) 416-0156
CENRO Dumaguete City – (035) 422-4367
CENRO Ayungon – (038) 404-0829

Melicor said the effects of the pandemic might have led to community in rural areas to resort to poaching of wild plants as alternative source of income.

“For hunting and trading, the penalty ranges from two to four years of imprisonment and/or fine of P30,000 to P300,000 for hunting and P5,000 to P300,000 for trading of wildlife. For the mere transport of wildlife, the penalty is six months to one-year imprisonment and/or P50,000 to P100,000 fine,” the DENR said. AAC

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