CORON, Palawan — Over a hundred participants attending an environmental law summit in Coron offered silent prayers on Friday in tribute to late forester Bienvinido “Toto” Veguilla Jr. who was hacked and killed by a suspected illegal logger in El Nido last month.
During the second day of the 1st Calamian Environmental Law Enforcement Summit organized by the Calamianes Resiliency Network (CRN), a video presentation was shown to look back on the field activities of Veguila along with his team.
Dr. Henry Adornado, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) MIMAROPA regional executive director, said Veguila’s contributions to environmental protection helped a lot in their agency’s tasks in El Nido.
“We would like to thank the organizer (Calamianes Resiliency Network) for honoring our fellow worker Toto. Naging napalaking tulong ng kanyang contribution, imagine, despite the very scarce number of personnel in our department — trying to work as many as possible every day — nangyari pa ang ganito,” he said.
He said that based on their data, one forest ranger has to patrol more than 5,000 hectares. But in Palawan, about 10,000 hectares have to be covered by a single forester.
“It happened because Palawan alone constitutes more than half of the MIMAROPA region. In Palawan alone, we have 1.4 million hectares, while in the entire MIMAROPA we only have 2.7 million hectares only,” he said.
He said that due to the huge responsibility of foresters, DENR is already tapping other government agencies, people’s organizations and stakeholders to help protect the forests.
Veguilla died in September while performing his duty as a forester in the town of El Nido.