Lumber yards chopped down to 26% in Davao Region

May. 04, 2014

By Daisy Jane Apit

Davao Today intern

DAVAO CITY – The Environmental department has declared a sharp drop in lumber yards, or wood-processing plants, operating in the Davao Region, as it also announced it has planted 16.5 million seedlings in denuded areas.

In its campaign against illegal logging, Department of Environment and Natural Resources- XI Regional Director Joselin Marcus Fragada said government trimmed down the number of wood processing plants, from 150 before the campaign four years ago, to only 40 to 45 plants.

The reason for the reduction is to rationalize the whole process of the wood industry according to Fragada.

“The regulations that we have set up and put up are designed to have this people shift from illegal to legal one. Of course we still allow logging because we all know that Davao needs the lumber industry,” Fragada said.

He said they have coordinated with the Army, police and local government executives “to have better control and regulation of the logging activities”.

“Every time we conduct the anti-illegal logging task force meeting, we hold it to the different provinces like last Tuesday in Davao Oriental Tuesday and next is in ComVal [Compostela Valley], for us to be able to rally reach out and ask for the assistance of the LG in terms of our campaigns,” Fragada said.

Asked to comment on the continuing incidence of illegally cut logs that still get transported and processed along the supposed guarded routes, Fragada said there are still parts of Oriental and Compostela Valley that need to be observed.

But he assured that illegal activities have been decreased because of their measures.

The agency was also able to catch recently hot logs hidden in trucks hidden under piles of softdrinks and in passenger buses.

To continue to operate and renew their permits, Fragada said that wood-processing plants are required to import lumbers from other countries to show proof of their log supply contract for five years and to plant in certain areas.

“We are trying to make sure they are still in their limits legally and contribute to the need of timber in the region. Nakikinabang naman sila sa mga puno so dapat ibalik nila sa environment kung anong nawala (They have benefited from these trees, so they must return back what was lost to the environment,”Fragada said.

Meanwhile, in its midyear assessment of the National Greening Project, the DENR said it has planted roughly 16.5 million seedlings to the 33,000 hectares that have been denuded or abandoned.

On its third year, the program has continued planting cacao, coffee, rubber and timber.

Fragada said that the greening program “is beneficial to the people for it is not only planting trees but also for economic stability, to combat climate change and global warming and increase forest productivity”.

The budget for the National Greening Program is between P80 million and P130 million.

“Kailangan talaga natin ng coordination, hindi lamang sa mga LGU kundi pati na rin sa mga private individuals and sector dahil kung ngayon 16 million lang, baka next year dodoble na iyan (We need coordination, not only with local government units, but also with private individuals and sectors, because now, we planted 16 million, maybe next year, we would double it),” Fragada said.

Next year, the department plans to launch another NGP plantation in Compostela Valley.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje met the regional DENR officers to come up with a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Information Agency to intensify their information and education campaign with regards to global warming and climate change.

“Climate change and global warming are not local problems but international problems and they’re growing. We have to take measures. We have to be able to explain to the public as well what our accountabilities and responsibilities are in terms of protecting the environment in general,” Fragada said.

The DENR said it would also plant mangrove along coastal areas in the provinces hit by typhoons Pablo and Yolanda “to strengthen its campaign against global warming and climate change, aside from the target to increase forest cover and beach forest program”. (

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