DENR taps more Army troops to protect forests in Central Luzon
OLONGAPO CITY—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has tapped Army troops to help protect the forests in Central Luzon, the agency said Monday, June 6.
DENR regional officials and the 3rd Regional Community Defense Group (3RCDG) of the Philippine Army signed a memorandum of partnership (MOPA) to conserve the country’s natural resources and protect forestlands in the region.
“The Army has been among our steady and reliable partners in environmental stewardship. Their consistent support is a big boost not only in our anti-illegal logging campaign, but in our conservation efforts as well,” Paquito Moreno, Jr., DENR regional executive director, said during the agreement signing held in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga.
DENR Assistant Secretary for Administration and Legislative Affairs Joan Lagunda said the Army provides a strong support system for the DENR in defending the country’s natural resources against environmental crimes, “which have grown bolder over time.”
“Criminal elements have become bolder, and our ecological wealth, if left undefended, is an easy target for unscrupulous groups. Hence, we must keep watch and continue to act against environmental threats with the help of the Army,” Lagunda said.
Under the pact, the Ready Reserve Units of the 3RCDG will adopt a non-contiguous 20-hectare existing plantation in each province.
The DENR said these areas identified by its provincial and community offices in this city would be planted with endemic species. The RRU shall be in charge of its maintenance and protection needs.
Maj. General Felipe, Army reserve commander, said they would continuously support the DENR’s environmental protection programs.
The DENR said forest protection activities in Central Luzon have been carried out successfully with the help of the Army and other law enforcement agencies.
Data show that authorities have seized over P2.5 million worth of suspected illegal forest products and filed cases against more than 40 people allegedly involved in these illegal activities in recent operations.
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