TACURONG CITY, Philippines — Timber Poachers here are not afraid to violate the law. Truth this, they have the guts to threaten government forest rangers.
The timber poachers are riding on the limitation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to deploy sufficient number of forest rangers to secure the 11,000-hectare forest protected zones in the municipality of Bagumbayan, Province of Sultan Kudarat.
The DENR has only deployed 18 forest rangers to secure the 11,000-hectare protected areas of this municipality. The number of poachers is even triple compared to government rangers.
Part of the 116, 451. 83 Kabulnan Watershed Forest Reserve is also located in the municipality of Bagumbayan.
In an average, a forest ranger looks after six hectares in a day. The terrain is another challenge.
Abunawas Abduladsis, the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) said, poachers are spread all over the government protected zones, they even threaten the forest rangers.
“We know the law, and we will not be threatened, we just need to be careful,” Abduladsis emphasized.
Who is threatening them forest rangers? “the unscrupulous lumberyard owners, they are the financiers and they operate all over,” he added.
The protected areas is located kilometers away from the town center.
The need to preserve and protect the forest is necessary, it is one of the forest reserves in Southern Mindanao.
Given the challenge, Abduladsis said “We will stand our ground to protect the forest.” “I wish that the national government will hear our predicament, we need additional forest guards and arming them is necessary,” he added.
The protected areas are planted with hard wood, indigenous and endangered species, he described.
Recently, the government established a forest ranger station in at the foothills of Barangay Titulok in Bagumbayan. The station started its operation last month.
“Madali ang pag-intercept sa kanila dahil nakikita sila kaagad ng mga nagbabantay na mga forest rangers natin,” Abduladsis said.
Last week, forest rangers intercepted several trucks loaded with illegally-cut trees, mostly of “Lawaan” specie.-Ramil H. Bajo//Newsline.ph
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