The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) should focus more on enforcement rather “than sit in overly-funded education platforms”, the Palawan NGO Network Inc. (PNNI) said.
A letter dated May 2 by Atty. Robert Chan, the PNNI executive director, said the council should also review its co-management policy.
Chan’s statement comes after their confiscation of a chainsaw that eventually led to the discovery of illegal logging activities in the watershed area in Barangay Dumangueña, Narra town on March 27.
In its letter, the network said that based on its Global Positioning System (GPS) plotting, “the illegal logging activity is within the restricted area of the Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN) zones of the PCSD.”
“This Council should review its policy on co-management that opens up the forest for plantations and instruct its directors to do enforcement work than sit in overly-funded education platforms,” Chan said in his letter.
It is the same area that is within the Victoria-Anepahan Mountain Range (VAMR) area promoted by the PCSD as “a critical habitat” under its wildlife protection program, he pointed out.
In its meetings and discussions with PCSD on the VAMR, Chan said the network had recommended a “more enforcement-based approach” rather than “an endless array of research networking, and capacity-building projects that only seek to prosper fat consultants than poorly funded forest rangers”.
He said that it is para-enforcers who responded to reports from the local indigenous community who found the “butchered big trees on both sides of the watershed and water system.”
The IP members claimed that the clearing had been going on for three months now “without PCSD nor the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conducting forest patrols in the area,” he said.
The area was cleared not just by logging alone but for another plantation, he added.
“And to make matters worse, it was observed by our para-enforcers that the security and caretaker personnel of the water system were in connivance with the loggers as they acted as look-outs for the illicit activity,” Chan said in his letter