Reformists turn forest guards

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) VI has intensified its forest protection efforts through the hiring of 85 Forest Guards (FGs) from the six different provinces in the region from September 2 to December 31, 2013.

DENR VI hired the services of former insurgents as forest protection officers as part of the compliance with the provisions of the peace agreement the group signed with the government in year 2000.

Under the DENR-Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2013-02, entitled, “Implementing Guidelines on Providing Employment Opportunities to Beneficiaries in Support for the Peace Process through the National Greening Program (NGP), Forest Protection and Other Forestry related Activities,” both agencies agreed to provide livelihood support to former combatants by creating viable partnerships through the implementation of NGP and forestry-related activities.

Upon hiring, the FGs shall undertake the following activities: conduct forest protection, monitoring surveillance and law enforcement activities in coordination with other law agencies and local government units; coordinate and attend to Sanggunian Bayan and Brgy. Council Meetings on forest protection corners with their area of assignment; conduct survey of forest occupants within their assigned areas; produce 1,000 seedlings in support of the NGP in DENR identified nursery; participate in meetings, activity assessment and planning sessions with DENR Staff and other partners; and, submit regular accomplishment report/s, incident report and report of meeting/coordination required in the performance of their functions.

The hiring of forest protection officers are distributed as follows: Province of Aklan, 14; Province of Antique, 22; Province of Iloilo, 6; and Province of Negros Occidental, 43.

These reformists who were hired as forest guards had undergone orientation workshop on Forestry Laws, Rules and Regulations held at Sugarland Hotel, Bacolod City last September with the top officials of DENR and the OPAPP.

DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Adeluisa G. Siapno earlier said that securing for the protection of the environment especially our forests could not be done by the DENR alone “but we need the assistance and are really expecting too much from this group.” (Source: DENR, November 20, 2013)

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