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GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region XII recently issued closure orders to 17 structures/business establishments in this city and in Polomolok, South Cotabato which are found to be operating within forestlands.
 
Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of GenSan Ma. Elvira V. Lumayag stressed that the issuance of closure orders was made in compliance with the Memorandum issued by the Regional Executive Director, Atty. Felix S. Alicer pursuant to Section 20 and Section 78 of Presidential Decree No. 705 as amended, otherwise known as The Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.
 
Lumayag said that the owners of the establishments were unable to present legal documents to support their operation in the area.
 
“Closure Orders were issued to these establishments following the inspection and orientation on laws governing the use of forestland conducted by the CENRO Gensan,” Lumayag said.
Prior to the issuance of the Closure Order, Lumayag added that her office conducted an inventory of businesses and establishments operating within forestlands to be included in its Base Map as one of its initiatives and innovations.
 
According to Lumayag, another batch of closure orders will also be issued as more structures and establishments are being inspected by the DENR.
Meanwhile, DENR-XII Regional Executive Director (RED) Atty. Felix S. Alicer emphasized the importance of harmony between development and environmental protection which can only be obtained through proper land use.
 
“In order to carry out the DENR’s mandate to protect and conserve the country’s environment and its natural resources, it is the duty of the department to regulate the utilization and development of our forestlands to prevent them from flourishing at the expense of our environment,” RED Alicer said.
 
RED Alicer also assured that the proponents will have the support of the DENR once their operations have been legitimized.
 
“We would like to send a message that we are doing our duty in managing our resources. If the establishment owners comply and submit all the necessary requirements proven to be in compliance with our governing laws, we will continue to support them in their endeavors,” he added. | (with reports and photo by CENRO GenSan)