Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is urging lawmakers to act immediately against the continued killing of forest protection workers by enacting laws classifying illegal logging as a heinous crime.
Paje made the appeal following the death of another DENR employee in Agusan del Sur by suspected illegal loggers.
On February 22, DENR tree marker Jaime Diez, 45, was shot dead inside his residence in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, 15 days after DENR forestry specialist Melania Dirain, 47, was gunned down inside her office in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan last February 7, 2011.
Earlier, President Benigno Aquino III directed the DENR, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of National Defense, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to heighten the campaign against illegal logging including the protection of forest law enforcers.
“Illegal logging has spawned the culture of impunity that has befallen upon our forest protection workers,” Paje said, noting that the two DENR field workers were killed in two separate incidents this month.
“Diez and Dirain are just a tiny fraction of a long list of environmental protectors who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. And that list is getting longer by the month,” Paje stressed.
“Drug pushers and economic saboteurs are slapped with capital punishments for destroying lives and families. With more reason that illegal loggers should be meted out with the same punishment because the death which they cause not only destroys lives and families but communities as well with every tree felled by their chainsaws,” Paje pointed out.
There is a bill now pending in the House of Representatives declaring illegal logging a heinous crime.
House Bill (HB) 00744 filed by Representative Jane Tan Castro of Capiz on July 7, 2010 seeks to make capital punishment as the penalty for illegal logging, and that it should be meted out with the penalty of death should the death penalty be restored for capital offenses as defined in the Revised Penal Code.
- Published: 01 March 2012