By Edward B. Antonio
VIGAN CITY – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) admitted that it really has a problem in guarding our forests and mountains as it lacks forest rangers.
This was the answer of DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones to a reporter’s query regarding the plight of Ilocos Sur forests in a press conference held at the Vigan Convention Center during the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) summit, June 19.
Leones’ answer stemmed from a query that since one of Ilocos Sur’s main industry is tobacco it follows that farmers use wood or lumber in their tobacco barns thereby contributing to the denudation of the forests.
“Add to this the charcoal industry of the mountain people plus the destruction caused by illegal loggers, and since there are only 6 forest rangers in Ilocos Sur according to former PENRO Raymund Sinay who are all deployed in the 2nd district, how can we solve this problem?” the reporter asked.
Leones said that it has been coordinating with the local government and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help in monitoring the forests.
“This is a problem and the DENR will look into that,” he said.#