TACLOBAN CITY—Bothered that it may be used for illegal logging activities, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is seeking the immediate recovery of chainsaws distributed by the Philippine Coconut Authority to clear debris after the onslaught of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013.
DENR Eastern Visayas Regional Executive Director Leonardo Sibbaluca said that since the removal of coconut debris is now done, there’s a huge possibility that some people will use these chainsaws to cut trees.
“Are they going to use these chainsaw to pull out weeds? Of course not! This will surely be used for illegal logging,” Sibbaluca said.
Sibbaluca said that some foresters have already recovered chainsaws acquired by some individuals for post-“Yolanda” clearing operations.
PCA Regional Manager Joel Pilapil said they are now on the process of recovering chainsaws borrowed by some groups and local government units since late 2013.
“Now that debris clearing is over, most individual operators have already returned the chainsaws. However, most units are still under the possession of local government units,” Pilapil said.
PCA records show that of the 2,625 chainsaws distributed after “Yolanda,” 289 units are scheduled for return to the central government within the first half of 2016. Of the number, 151 are in Eastern Samar, 110 in northern Leyte, and 28 units in western Leyte.
The government has embarked on massive chainsaw distribution to remove fallen coconut trees in support to recovery activities for coconut farmers. The 2013 super typhoon has destroyed about 13-million trees in Eastern Visayas region.
Clearing was one of the priorities after the disaster considering that rotten coconut trees serves as breeding ground of rhinoceros beetle that is feed on the palm shoot.
The pest has been present in the region’s coconut farms even before “Yolanda” struck, but its population has been manageable, according to PCA.
The beetle’s population usually starts to increase six months after a coconut tree is uprooted or sheared.