BAGUIO CITY – Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon Raul Lambino chided officials of the environment for their alleged incomplete reports on the government’s aggressive anti-illegal logging campaign which casts doubt on the sincerity of concerned agencies to improve the state of the environment in the northern part of the country.
Secretary Lambino, graced the third quarter joint meeting of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) at the Mansion House Thursday, required the DENR-CAR to submit to his office the soonest comprehensive reports on the government’s anti-illegal logging campaign reflecting the names of individuals involved, their protectors or financiers, the cases that were filed and status of the said cases, the number of convictins among other important details which must be made available so that appropriate strategies could be crafted to curb the proliferation of illegal logging in the region.
“We cannot afford to sacrifice the state of the environment simply because of the income that will de derived by the people from the forests that are converted to commercial farms,” Lambino stressed.
The Palace aide disclosed that he personally saw the magnitude of forest destruction in Northern Luzon because he flies by the said areas through a chopper, thus, the need for the concerned government agencies to make drastic actions to prevent the deterioration of the state of the environment, especially the Cordillera which serves as the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon.
According to him, there is also a need for the government to consider the socio-economic activities of the people who will be affected by the government’s aggressive anti-illegal logging campaign that is why it is important for other agencies aside from the ENR to be involved in the strategic approach to curb rampant cutting of trees in the countryside.
Based on the data from the DENR-CAR, some 550 hectares of the region’s forest were ravaged by commercial vegetable garden owners from 2010-2015 which is considered alarming because of the massive forest destruction regionwide.
Secretary Lambino underscored that water is an important ingredient of the lives of the people and the forests also play an important role in sustaining the abundant supply of water for various uses by the people, thus, efforts must be done the soonest to preserve and protect the environment before it will be too late for people to be acting on such a very important concern.
He emphasized that his office is willing to extend the needed technical assistance to the concerned government agencies in the formulation of programs, projects and activities that will address the socio-economic concerns to convince people in remote villages to refraim from wilfully cutting trees that will significantly affect the state of the environment thereby depriving the present and future generations from enjoying the fruits of a well-protected forest.
He asserted that the government will not resort to depriving the people living in the far flung villages with their sources of livelihood but what should be emphasized is that the trees should to be compromised because of their important contribution in ensuring the guaranteed preservation and protection of the environment.