Environment protection for you

>> Saturday, June 16, 2018

By March Fianza

Last Monday, I received information that some 20 Pine Trees inside a private land at Pasnaan, Caponga, Tublay were about to be cut. Pictures sent to me through social media showed that there were trees that were already cut into lumber of different sizes. Wondering why the police and the local officials seemed powerless in stopping the killing of trees, I contacted Mayor Armando Lauro who in turn told me that there was nothing more he can do because a Special Private Land Timber Permit (SPLTP) for tree cutting was already issued to one Mr. Cresencio Angluben, the applicant and new owner of the titled two-hectare lot.
In our conversation that followed, I can feel the disappointment in the voice of Mayor Lauro. He said, while the permitee came to his office, it was too late to argue and move to protect the trees that are part of the environment of his municipality because DENR Director Ralph Pablo already issued a permit as a final act. As we talked, it dawned on me that when it comes to environmental protection, sitting LGU officials can be disregarded, even disrespected because the laws are not definite but are followed depending on the pleasure of the head of the implementing agency. While the mandate of DENR is to preserve and protect the environment, ironically it is also empowered to allow the cutting of trees.
Indeed, Mayor Lauro cannot argue because the permitee had completed the requirements for the issuance of a tree-cutting permit. In fact, he has secured certifications of “no objection” from the barangay, municipal and provincial LGUs because the signatories were made to believe that the trees were planted in the 70s. The LGU certificates were all issued in 2014. And since the LGU certifications were issued three years ago, all the more that the DENR should have consulted Mayor Lauro and the provincial LGU and secured new certifications from them because they are newly elected executives who now work in situations that are different from the previous administration. Furthermore, they too think differently from their predecessors.
Also, a scrutiny of the documents reveals many things. The joint-affidavit of two individuals saying that they were asked to plant the trees by our late grandmother Mrs. Priscilla Baban were secured only on May 2017, or three years later after the LGU certifications of “no objection” were issued. This is a typical picture of the proverbial “cart placed before the horse”. And Lola Priscilla has no chance to attest to the truthfulness of the joint affidavit. It appears that the signatures of the two affiants were only secured as an after-thought because it can strengthen the requirements for the application of a tree-cutting permit.
In a file of documents sent to me by the DENR RPAO, Mr. Angluben was also able to acquire a Certificate of Registration of Tree Plantation in 2014 over the area from where he cut the trees. It is also worth knowing when the present owner of the land bought it from the original owner. While the law allows registration of private plantations anytime as in this case which was registered only in 2014, I am curious that the certificate of registration of tree plantation was issued very late – more than 40 years later, considering that the trees were planted in the 70s as claimed by the affiants.
All that is water under the bridge but as I see things, if tree-cutting permits are issued in disregard of the intervention, consultation and latest approval of LGUs and people on the ground, especially for trees inside private lots, then we are assured of lesser green surroundings because people no longer have the power to manage their environment as these are under the mercy of agencies in charge of issuing permits. Congratulations! I doff my hat to them and may their tribe increase. And yes, no wonder Gina Lopez was not confirmed as DENR chief.


  © Blogger templates Palm by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics