ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Philippines stops new logging permits
Citing records of the DENR Forest Management Bureau, Paje said that less than 16 million hectares were identified as forestland while only 7.2 million hectares were actual forested areas.
The Philippines has a total land area of 30 million hectares.
“The remaining hectares of primary forests have already been heavily degraded,” Paje said.
The DENR defines forests as areas measuring at least one-half hectare, where canopies of trees cover a minimum of 10 percent of the territory concerned and where trees are at least five meters high.
Paje issued a new guideline to regional offices for the abolition of all non-critical checkpoints in exchange for the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in all wood processing plants to ensure that proponents are not processing illegally cut timber from forested areas.
“Some 60 to 70 percent of the total number of checkpoints will be abolished. We will only retain the highly critical checkpoints,” the DENR chief said.
“But in exchange for this, we will be requiring all wood processing permitees to install at least one 24/7 CCTV camera in their processing plants to monitor the entry of illegally cut logs or naturally grown logs in processing plants,” he added.
Paje issued the new guideline amid reports that timber companies are paying more than P50,000 a month in checkpoints that are notorious for rampant bribery.
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