DENR order to resume logging ends 18-yr rest of Sa Nov 24, 2007 22:03:28 GMT 8
Post by seacid on Nov 24, 2007 22:03:28 GMT 8
DENR order to resume logging ends 18-yr rest of Samar forest
By Vicente Labro
Last updated 01:05am (Mla time) 11/15/2007
TACLOBAN CITY—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has allowed a big logging firm to resume its operations in Samar after this was stopped in 1989 when the government declared a logging moratorium on the island.
Ricardo Tomol, regional technical director for forest protection and resource management of the DENR here, said the Timber License Agreement (TLA) of Basey Wood Industries Inc. (Baswood) was extended by six years to allow it to cut the amount of trees that it could have cut during the moratorium.
Tomol said the area where Baswood would be allowed to cut trees was reduced by 30 percent. Seventy percent of the area is already under the Samar Island Natural Park, a protected area.
Are there still trees?
President Macapagal-Arroyo had declared on Aug. 13, 2003 the 333,300-hectare SINP as a protected area.
The DENR issued a TLA for a concession area of 57,525 hectares and effective from January 1971 to June 1995 to Baswood.
Tomol said they received this week a copy of the order for the resumption of Baswood’s operation from the DENR central office, which stated, among others, that the logging moratorium on Samar Island has been lifted and that Baswood’s TLA has been extended by six years.
He said the order was signed by then Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes.
Tomol said technical personnel of Baswood are now in Basey town, the site of the company’s concession area, for an initial inspection to see if there are still forests there.
“If they (logging firm’s personnel) would say there are still sufficient trees (there) for them to operate, the DENR team will also go there to validate their timber evaluation,” he said.
Baswood was the second, among the seven logging firms actively operating on Samar Island when the moratorium was declared, granted permits to resume logging by the DENR since 2005.
The first one was San Jose Timber Corp., which is reportedly owned by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.
Tomol said the DENR central office used San Jose Timber as a precedent in the issuance of a resumption order to Baswood.
In August 2005, then Environment Secretary Michael Defensor allowed San Jose Timber to resume its operation in 95,770 hectares of forest lands in Samar Island and extended its logging permit by 16 years.
That development, however, was met with strong opposition from the people of the three Samar provinces.
The Church also opposed San Jose Timber’s planned resumption of operation, saying that circumstances leading to the lifting of the logging moratorium in Samar “had not been transparent and the processed flawed” and that the law was “applied without due consideration for the poor to please the powerful.”