TACLOBAN CITY-The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is closely monitoring the use of chainsaws following the slow turn out of chainsaw registration for the owners to register and secure permit for the use of the equipment from their office. DENR-8 Regional Executive Director Leonardo Sibbaluca said that he has ordered his men in the field to closely monitor the use of the chainsaws being used in the cutting of felled coconut trees for house reconstruction and other infrastructure projects especially in the areas battered with the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda last November 8, 2013. It was learned that there is about 2,000 chainsaws that were brought to the region in the middle of this year by private individuals, organizations, international non-government organizations, and other sources to cut the millions of coconut trees that felled during the typhoon.

However, the DENR-8 only recorded of just around 500 owners who registered their chainsaws. Sibbaluca said that his office has intensified its campaign for the owners to register their chainsaws and secure permit and has already issued stern warning to owners for them to comply with the laws regarding the use of the equipment. He said that they facilitates the registration of chainsaws considering that there is a need for the equipment in coconut lumber production for housing and other infrastructure projects especially in super typhoon Yolanda-affected areas.

The DENR regional director said that the primary purpose for the owners to register and secure permit for the use of the equipment is for monitoring and forest protection purposes because there are unscrupulous individuals who are using the equipment illegally and his men in the field have already confiscated illegally cut lumber. It was learned that based on records of DENR-8, as of this writing, the office has confiscated a total volume of 32,426 board feet of illegally cut lumber and round timber with a total value of P3,505,241, as of this year.

Two cases have been filed in court against four persons involved in violation of Presidential Decree 705 otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines. Sibbaluca said that the use of chainsaws is regulated by law and the illegal use of the equipment is a criminal offense and punishable under the Chainsaw Act, or Republic Act No. 9175 of 2002, which carries a penalty of P15,000 to P30,000 with four to six years imprisonment. He said that the use of chainsaw to cut trees in areas not authorized by law or by DENR has a six to eight years imprisonment or a fine of not less than P30,000 and not more than P50,000 or both at the discretion of the court.

Sibbaluca added that his office adopts and facilitates simplified chainsaw registration at the Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs) in six provinces all over Eastern Visayas.
He said that he is optimistic that more chainsaw registrations will come out or will be done by the owners in Eastern Visayas. (RESTITUTO A.CAYUBIT)