The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has mobilized at least 87 chainsaws to fast track the cutting of felled trees in areas badly affected by typhoon Ompong.

This even as DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu committed the agency’s resources, including its field personnel, to continue providing assistance to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local government units (LGUs) in their road clearing operations.

Initial reports received by the DENR’s Operations Center indicated some 87 chainsaws, including chainsaw operators, have been mobilized in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, and in the Cordillera Administrative Region, to fast track the clearing operations of felled trees along major roads, including those posing danger to the public.

On Friday, Cimatu activated the DENR Operations Center in central office in Quezon City to provide quick response to the public through its regional and field offices.

“This is the most opportune time to make good use of the chainsaws that we have confiscated. Chainsaws are appropriate to cut felled trees, especially the big ones, but shorten the time in the clearing operations of the local government units (LGUs), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and even by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in the National Capital Region,” Cimatu said.

In Metro Manila, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda spearheaded the conduct of clearing operations in response to calls received by DENR Hotline reporting of fallen trees. As of September 15, Antiporda said at least 12 clearing operations were recorded in Quezon City, Malabon and Valenzuela City.

In areas badly affected by typhoon Ompong, the DENR field personnel were also activated to provide support to DPWH in its road clearing operations, among which was in Kiangan, Asipolo and Tinoc road in Ifugao, to enable the delivery of food packs to evacuees.

Aside from clearing operations, the DENR has also assisted in the evacuation of more than a thousand affected families and individuals in Aparri, Cagayan; Dupax del Norte; and Isabela, and in delivery and distribution of relief goods.

At least 60 families are now taking shelter at the DENR’s CENRO sub Maconacon office, 18 individuals at CENRO Palanan and four families at CENRO Casiguran.

The DENR’s Benguet provincial office was likewise evacuated due to a landslide area in Brgy. Little Kibungan, La Trinidad, Benguet province, and rescued five of its personnel in PENRO Isabela, who are now temporarily sheltered in its provincial office. ###