Local Execs to Implement Log Ban

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Local chief executives - from governors, mayors down to barangay chairmen - face sanctions if they do not comply with President Benigno S. Aquino III's directive imposing a total log ban.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse M. Robredo made the announcement after authorities seized 7,255 illegally cut logs worth P16 million in Butuan City on their way to a wood processing company in Cagayan de Oro City late last month.

"It is the local chief executives' statutory duty to enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the LGU (local government unit) and the exercise of its corporate powers, including the presidential directive on the total log ban," said Robredo.

A local official who fails to prevent the entry or transport of illegal logs or timber within his or her territorial jurisdiction will be liable for any violation of the ban under Presidential Executive Order No. 23 issued in April 2011.

Section 2 of EO 23 provides for "a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests of the entire country."

The regulatory measure "magnifies the earnest desire of the government to protect our remaining forest cover areas by all those concerned LGUs. If they fail to comply or defy the presidential directive under EO 23," the local executives will be held liable, Robredo said.

He issued a separate directive to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Nicanor Bartolome to implement the "one-strike policy" or immediate relief of police provincial directors or chiefs of police found to be violating the log ban or remiss in preventing the entry or transport of illegal logs or timber in their areas. …