COLLABORATION. Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Caraga and Davao regions meet Tuesday (March 23, 2021) in Butuan City to strengthen the enforcement of environmental laws in the border areas of both regions. Specifically, the officials also seek to thresh out concerns to stem the rising illegal logging activities in the two neighboring areas. (Photo courtesy of DENR-13)

BUTUAN CITY – The regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Caraga and Davao regions have agreed to a coordinated approach against illegal logging.

In a press statement Wednesday, DENR-13 said Executive Director Nonito M. Tamayo and DENR-11 Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco said Tuesday's inter-regional meeting aims to strengthen the implementation of environmental laws, especially concerning the illegal logging problem in both regions.

Caraga's Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur provinces border the Davao Region provinces of Davao de Oro and Davao Oriental.

“The inter-regional meeting seeks to brainstorm and thresh out issues and concerns necessary to prevent and mitigate the re-emerging rise of illegal transport and possible illegal logging activities affecting the two regions, considering that both regions are closely inter-connected with each other as the main gateway and source of forest products, respectively,” DENR-13 said.

Tamayo explained that the people’s dependency on the forestry sector has led to numerous illegal logging and timber poaching incidents.

He also underscored the importance of community participation to put an end to the illegal logging and timber poaching activities in the areas.

“Over the years, we continue to strengthen our enforcement efforts. We established 42 patrol bases and monitoring stations and five look-out towers. To date, only eight of the previously identified 17 hotspot areas are considered as areas of concern,” Tamayo said.

He said the areas of concern are located in the borders of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, and Davao Oriental and Davao de Oro.

“Working together is essential in stopping these illegal logging activities in our areas,” Tamayo said.

In the same statement, Evasco also pointed out the importance of envisioning more collaborations and a coalition of forces between the two offices.

Part of the activity is a scheduled site inspection within the areas bordering the two regions, particularly in Bislig Surigao del Sur and Baganga, Davao Oriental. (PNA)