DENR, AFP and PNP ink protocol accord on Anti-Illegal Logging operations

By RPAO-13

 Butuan City, August 10, 2017-- The DENR on Thursday has entered into a formal agreement with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)  and the Philippines National Police (PNP)  on protocol matters in pursuit of its objectives in the anti-illegal logging operations in Caraga Region.

The signing of MOU took place at the Office of the DENR-13 Regional Director among Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Maritess M. Ocampo; Col. Andres C. Centino, INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of the 401st Brigade Infantry Division; PSSupt Ernesto V.Flores, Deputy Regional Director for Operations of Police Regional Office 13; and PCSupt. Carlos L. Lozano, Deputy Regional Director for Administration.

“It is necessary among us to have defined rules, procedures, duties and functions of each  organization  involved   in the anti-illegal logging campaign to achieve  better results and efficiency in the operations” ARD Ocampo said in her remarks.

Other government agencies which have likewise been asked to support and assist in the anti illegal logging campaign are the Department of Interior Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Philippine Coast Guards (PCG) which are members of the newly-created “National Anti-Environmental Crime Task Force” by virtue of the Memorandum of Agreement signed on August 8, 2017. This agreement strengthens respective responsibilities in the “Partnership in the Intensified Anti-Illegal Logging Campaign in Mindanao Agreement. Under this agreement, the DENR is tasked to lead in the implementation of EO 23 and conduct administrative and adjudication proceedings pursuant to DAO No. 97-32. It shall also file administrative and criminal cases against violators and acts as witness in the prosecution of cases in court; provide legal support, logistics, and trainings.

The AFP is tasked upon its deputation by the DENR to assume the lead role in the conduct of planning, coordination and execution of anti-illegal logging operations. It shall assist in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases related to anti-illegal logging and coordinate with the DENR in the conduct of socio-economic programs in communities.

The PNP takes charge in the regular monitoring and evaluation of all anti-illegal logging operations.

ARD Ocampo said the “MOU on Protocols in legitimate operation” has further defined the  procedures, rules , functions and duties of the DENR, the AFP and the PNP on the conduct of surveillance operations needing search warrant;   first-hand information reported to the DENR, PNP and AFP, conduct of verifying forest products in open and closed transit vans, and retrieval and confiscation of undocumented / illegally-cut forest products found abandoned in open areas and those found in the private property.

“We expected better results of our operations in the days ahead. The success of the Anti-Illegal Logging Operations truly depends on the strong coordination between various stakeholders especially the AFP, PNP, and even the members of the community” ARD Ocampo said.

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