PALO, Leyte- The administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said that he would not think twice in removing provincial heads or even regional managers if they could not stop the occurrence of coconut logging at their respective areas.
Avelino Andal, PCA administrator, said on Thursday (January 26) during a press conference, that coco logging remains “rampant” in several provinces in the country, to include Eastern Visayas which saw more than 13 million coconut trees destroyed when it was hit by super typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013.
Andal, however, did not say the exact magnitude of coconut logging in the country except to say that it ranges to “minimal” in certain area and “worse” in other areas.
“I told them of movement of people. For those areas where coco logging continues, I have already decided that if they could not get rid of the coco logging, they would be transferred to provinces where there are no coconuts,” Andal said during a press conference held at the regional office of the PCA at the Government Center in Palo, Leyte.
According to him, he was “disappointed” that there were PCA officials who appear not following RA 8048 or the Coconut Preservation Act which prohibits illegal cutting of coconut trees.
Andal had recently issued an order for a moratorium in the cutting of coconut trees except if needed like if the trees could pose danger to one’s life or fell due to natural calamity like typhoon or in case of a road widening project.
The moratorium took effect last January 3.
Andal, however, could not say yet as to when the moratorium in the cutting of coconut trees would be lifted.
“Cutting coconut trees is a criminal offense. It’s like killing a human being. The reason for this is that it takes five to seven years before you can produce yield in each and every coconut tree,” the PCA administrator said.
He said that “several” apprehensions have already been made against those who violated the moratorium. Andal, however, could not provide details on this. (JOEY A. GABIETA)