Solon files bill banning commercial logging

TO preserve the country’s dwindling forests and save the people from the deleterious effects of global warming, a lawmaker has  filed a bill banning commercial logging in the country.

Rep. Danilo Ramon Fernandez (1st District, Laguna) filed  House Bill 2176, which will prohibit commercial logging for 12 years after the enactment of the proposed act.

“Despite a good number of forest conservation laws, lives and property continue to be under severe threat due to the irresponsible, unsustainable and devastating commercial logging activities,” Fernandez said.

Under the bill, cutting of old trees from forests for the purpose of selling it and the issuance of a timber license agreement (TLAs) or integrated forest management agreements (IFMAs) or similar issuances shall be prohibited for 12 years.

Violators, under the proposed bill , face six years to life imprisonment and a fine of not less than ten times the value of the timber, flitches, charcoal or fuel wood illegally cut for commercial purposes.

Under the measure, it shall be prohibited to indiscriminately cut, fell, or destroy trees in natural forests for commercial logging purposes or for fuel wood or charcoal making for commercial purposes.

“It will be illegal to possess and transport illegally cut logs, timber, squared timber or flitches, from natural forests to elsewhere. The confiscated logs shall be considered prima facie evidence against a commercial logging operation,” Fernandez said.

The bill provides for the establishment of a Forest Management Council in every province to be composed of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer (PENRO) of the DENR, which shall serve as Chairman, PENRO of the local government unit as co-chairman, City or Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, representative from the indigenous communities, representative from the local  timber manufacturers or industries and two representatives from non-governmental and people’s organization.

The council will be tasked to design and implement integrated social forestry programs, community forestry programs and other people oriented forestry programs for local residents, particularly displaced workers of existing commercial logging operations and wood processing plants living within and around the forest lands.-D’Jay Lazaro

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