In a move to further strengthen the government’s campaign against illegal logging, all officials and personnel of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Marine Industry Authority (MARINA) have been deputized as environment and natural resources officers.
Their deputations were contained in separate resolutions signed by members of the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (AILTF) created under Executive Order No. 23, comprising of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, National Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, National Police General Director Nicanor A. Bartolome, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Jessie D. Delloza, with Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje as the chairman of the task force.
“The deputation of ENROs is consistent with EO 23 which provides that the task force may call on any office of the Executive Branch to assist in the discharge of its functions,” Paje said.
He also said the move will strengthen the manpower capability of the DENR in the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations on environment and natural resources and in the implementation of the anti-illegal logging campaign.
“We will clothe all our deputized ENROs not only with the authority to stop illegal logging, including the confiscation of forest products that may have been acquired illegally, but also to enforce all other environmental laws of the land,” Paje stressed.
He specifically cited the critical role of PAOCC to “counter, minimize and neutralize organized crime groups and syndicates and their protectors in the government,” saying their activities not only affect the country’s peace and order situation but also contribute to the worsening economic and environmental conditions.
In the case of PCG and MARINA, the environment secretary said both agencies are vital in the protection and conservation of the country’s environment and natural resources, particularly those found in seas, coastal, marine and other areas within the Philippine waters.
In keeping with DENR’s deputation procedure, all the officials and employees of the named agencies shall undergo the required orientation and training on the various environmental laws and procedures to be conducted by the DENR.
Paje stressed, however, that each of the agencies may come up with their respective regulations to ensure the effectiveness of the deputation program.