TUGUEGARAO CITY – To conserve the remaining forest cover in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-2) said the ban on the issuance of certificates of chainsaw registration, which authorizes its use for tree harvesting, is still suspended, an official said.

DENR-2 Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan told reporters on Friday that the move was to ensure the regulation of cutting of trees as part of the intensified forest protection and anti-illegal logging campaign of the agency.

A report of the agency's Enforcement Division showed at least 312 of the 672 issued certificates of chainsaw registration in Cagayan Valley have expired this month. The issuance of certificates of registration was halted in December last year.

Bambalan said the regulation and prohibition of the use of chainsaws are in line with the directive of DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu for a crackdown on illegal forest activities and enhancement of forest conservation efforts through tree planting and growing.

She cited the need "to momentarily suspend" the issuance of certificates of registration or the permit to use chainsaws as this is seen as the major source and avenue of illegal forest activities.

She emphasized the long years of growing trees while a chainsaw can cut a single tree in seconds.

“In curbing illegal forest activities, we are considering three principles. First is the source, we have to check the status of the forests. Second is the route, we have to monitor the shipment through our north and south forest products monitoring checkpoints. And third is the destination where we have to ensure that all lumber dealers are officially registered in the DENR,” Bambalan said.

The DENR official also urged the lumber dealers to apply for a permit to ensure the proper regulation and monitoring by the agency.

Bambalan also called for the support of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police in its watch over forest covers and apprehension of perpetrators of illegal forest activities. (PNA)