KORONADAL CITY, SOUTH COTABATO – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 12 has strengthened ties with partner government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to intensify efforts in protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources (ENR) in the region.
A memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, by DENR-12 Regional Executive Director Atty. Felix S. Alicer and the heads/representatives of partner LGUs and agencies which signified the creation of the Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and Gensan) Environmental Protection Task Force.
RED Alicer stressed that the protection of environment cannot be done by the DENR alone and it needs the support of its partners.
“We can be more effective in environmental protection if we are joined by our partners. Without the support of our partners, especially from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces, we cannot be effective in the implementation of ENR laws,” RED Alicer said.
In his message, DENR Undersecretary for Special Concerns Edilberto D. Leonardo emphasized that the main goal in intensifying the anti-illegal logging campaign is not only the apprehension of illegal loggers and forest products, but to avoid the actual cutting of trees which are still intact in our forests.
He said that the proactive approach, wherein the DENR personnel, police and military will safeguard the entry and exit points of protected areas, will be a great boost to forest protection.
According to RED Alicer, the primary consideration for the creation of the task force is the anti-illegal logging, but the Executive Order No. 23 series of 2011 provided that the scope of application expands to whole environmental crimes.
“We are not only limited to anti-illegal logging. We should also operate in other areas like mining, pollution and others,” RED Alicer said.
After the MOA signing, the partner agencies and LGUs expressed their full support for the success of the created task force which will be benefited by the present and future generations.
The Soccsksargen Environmental Protection Task Force is composed by the DENR; provincial governments of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat; Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); Office of the Civil Defense (OCD); 6th and 10th Infantry Divisions of the Philippine Army; PNP; Philippine Coast Guard (PCG); PNP Maritime Group; Department of Agriculture (DA); Department of Tourism (DOT); National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP); Philippine Ports Authority, Port Management Office for SOCSARGEN; Bureau of Customs (BoC); and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
It aims to optimize the ridge to reef ENR protection, management and conservation and strengthen partnership for the mobilization of stakeholders in ENR preservation and law enforcement.
The task force also seeks to harmonize the involvement and mandate of different concerned agencies/entities for the common goal of environmental protection and conservation in the Soccsksargen Region. | Photos by: DYIBalindong