Environment officials deliver timber to residents in need of construction materials. (Photo courtesy of Beth Maclang)

The management of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) warned their community members not to engage in illegal activities involving fallen trees due to typhoon Odette, lest they want to face legal action.

Park superintendent Beth Maclang told Palawan News on Saturday that those residing in the protected area should follow the implementing guidelines set by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which state that barangay officials have full custody of the fallen trees.

Maclang added that the park management, along with environment officials, will not hesitate to file criminal cases against those who cut, collect, or process fallen trees without permission from their barangay officials. Those who also illegally use chainsaws will have their units confiscated if they do not follow guidelines set by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).

“Ang message ng DENR, City ENRO and park management din sa mga abusive na community members na chainsaw owners and operators, ay beware. Warning din sa kanila kasi hindi kami magdadalawang-isip na i-confiscate ang mga chainsaw nila. And hindi exempted ang mga barangay officials na mag-go beyond their limita and temporary authority na binigay sa kanila,” Maclang said through Facebook Messenger on Sunday.

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The PCSD temporarily allowed chainsaw owners to use their units outside the locations specified in their certificates of registration without securing a Special Use Permit (SUP), provided that the council is notified 48 hours prior to its use. According to Maclang, there are still individuals who do not follow these guidelines.

Maclang added that environment officials are already disbursing timber taken from the fallen trees to those who need to rebuild their homes. She added that hopefully, no more community members will resort to illegal activities, especially since they are already being provided with materials to rebuild their homes.

“Nag-establish na kami ng City ENRO at DENR ng libreng pamimigay ng kahoy sa mga tao at nag-warning na kami sa barangays na huhulihin at kakasuhan mga nag-aabuso. Dapat kasi ay monitored and controlled ng barangay officials ‘yan,” she explained.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.