Quezon bans charcoal production using wood productsBy Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LUCENA CITY—Charcoal production using wood products is now banned in Quezon province, the ban’s proponents linking mangrove depletion to an increase in demand for charcoal, particularly by stores in Metro Manila selling roasted pigs.
Exempted from the ban are charcoals made from coconut shells.
Victor Reyes, provincial board member, said the board, at a hearing of its committee on environment and natural resources, incorporated the ban in an environment code that it passed recently.
Reyes said proponents of the ban noticed that demand for wood charcoal, especially those from mangroves, increased as a result of roasted pig businesses in Metro Manila and other parts of the country preferring to use wood charcoal.
The high demand for wood charcoal, Reyes said, has led to the depletion of forest trees and mangroves in the province’s coastal areas.
Fr. Pete Montallana, chair of the Save Sierra Madre Network, said he welcomed the ban, saying charcoal makers do more harm to the forests than illegal loggers “because they cut young trees.”
He said sacks of wood charcoal lined up on the highways of several Quezon towns have been familiar sights.
Last Wednesday, provincial officials and the environmentalist group Tanggol Kalikasan found stacks of illegally cut mangroves in a one-hectare coastal area in Barangay Salinas here. The mangroves were cut for lumber and charcoal.
Manny Calayag, Quezon environment and natural resources office community coordinator, said Gov. David Suarez has ordered him to coordinate with the city government in the rehabilitation of the destroyed mangrove area.
Last June 30, the provincial government led the massive planting of more than two-million mangrove propagules in different coastal villages of the province.
Cutting mangrove trees is banned by Presidential Decree No. 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines and Republic Act No. 8550, otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code.