MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Monday ordered a crackdown on illegal logging and quarrying, which authorities point as among the causes of severe flooding in the country following recent consecutive storms.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police to implement the crackdown by reactivating their local Anti-Illegal Logging Task Forces.
Año also ordered LGUS and the police to speed up tree planting in coordination with the Department of the Environment and National Resources.
“All LGUs must reactivate their local Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force and be decisive in implementing the anti-illegal logging campaign and implementation of environmental laws and programs within their localities,” he said in a statement.
He reminded LGUs that under a 2011 memorandum by the DENR, municipal or city mayors must ensure that “no illegal logging, kaingin and other forms of forest destruction” take place in their jurisdiction.
Año also urged local officials to install more forest guards and asked the DENR to deploy more foresters to engage local communities and civil society organizations in reforestation programs.
The secretary also ordered the PNP to set up checkpoints and arrest illegal loggers who violate the Revised Forestry Code.
Parts of the Bicol region experienced lahar flow from the Mayon Volcano as Super Typhoon Rolly struck Luzon in early November, which some residents blamed on quarrying.
Widespread flooding submerged parts of the Cagayan Valley last week, with water levels reaching rooftops and residents appealing for rescue via social media. Among other reasons, officials said illegal logging was a factor in the worst floods seen in the area in decades.