Forest rangers are now being trained to use shotguns following the killing of a forest ranger in Palawan allegedly by illegal loggers.
This was revealed on Friday by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu during the hearing on the DENR’s budget in 2020.
“I initiated the weapons training of my enforcers there kasi pinapatay po ang mga tao namin eh (because they are getting killed). Enforcers are being trained to handle shotguns,” Cimatu told lawmakers.
Cimatu said that soldiers and policemen usually accompany forest rangers on patrols.
However, the DENR enforcers are forced to go out on their own when soldiers or policemen are not available.
Owing to the violence inflicted by illegal loggers and other environmental law violators on DENR personnel, Cimatu asked the legislators for a law that would create an enforcement bureau to be composed of armed personnel boost the implementation of environmental laws, particularly the Anti-Illegal Logging Act.
“Hindi naman kami pwede mag-hire ng security guard to help us in the patroling. In the end, sana mayroon na tayong batas na makatulong sa atin,” he said.
(“We cannot just hire security guards to help us in the patrolling. In the end, we hope a law that will promote the enforcement of environmental law is enacted,” Cimatu said.)
“All the mandates that is given to us by the law like the clean air act, the clean water, the solid waste management, medyo mahina yung DENR because of the enforcement. We cannot enforce,” he said.
Stressing the need for an armed law enforcement component, Cimatu said “I want to maintain Palawan as the last frontier but this is where our people are getting killed.”