Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman has issued an executive order calling for a total log ban in all the forests in the region’s five provinces.
Some 60 percent of the remaining forests in the region have been denuded due to rampant illegal cutting of trees by unscrupulous individuals, ARMM’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Hadji Kahal Kedtag said.
Kedtag said based on the latest monitoring by DENR personnel in Maguindanao, Sulu, Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Tawi-Tawi, “barely 40 percent of the region’s forested areas remain untouched, including watershed and forest reserves.
He identified Basilan as having the biggest denuded forest area among the five provinces, prompting the DENR provincial officer to issue a memorandum creating a Provincial Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force to monitor and prevent the further illegal cutting of naturally growing trees in the island.
Kedtag stressed that his office has implemented the government’s National Greening Program, which, among other things, enjoins all local and ARMM-based national government officials and employees to undertake mass tree-planting activities in bare forest areas.
Seedlings of mahogany and gemelina, fast-growing tree species, are now being propagated in various nurseries of all ARMM provinces, Kedtag said, adding that Maguindanao, through the initiative of Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, has established at least 10 nurseries while the other provincial executives have put up five nurseries each.
Kedtag said there is no letup in the region’s information and dissemination campaign asking persons who have vast plantations of trees to register their areas with the DENR “to avoid future problems from the cutting of planted trees in their respective areas.”