GOVERNMENT CENTER, PALO, Leyte- The regional office of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) asked government law enforcers to assist them in the enforcement of a three-month coconut logging.
Citing manpower constraints, PCA Regional Manager Joel Pilapil admitted that they are incapable of imposing the cutting ban.
“Our field personnel are trained on agricultural production and not running after those behind illegal activities,” Pilapil said.
Key PCA officials in the region will meet with the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, among others, to seek their assistance in the implementation of the nationwide ban.
“We really have to impose the ban because loggers are still taking advantage of debris clearing activities even if it’s already three years after supertyphoon “Yolanda”,” Pilapil said.
The moratorium issued by PCA Administrator Billy Andal is effective for three months starting Jan. 3, 2017, while there is an on-going review of the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act (RA) 10510593.
RA 10510593 amends RA 8048, which aims to streamline the processes related to permits and clearances.
The PCA Governing Board pushed for a logging moratorium considering the weak enforcement of RA 8048 or the Coconut Preservation Act of 1995.
The national moratorium covers all areas in the country except in Basilan province and Isabela City due to coconut scale insect or cocolisap infestation.
Eastern Visayas used to be the top coconut producing region in the country before Yolanda struck on November 8, 2013.
The region, with an annual average yield of 1 billion nuts, reported 33.82 million damaged trees by Yolanda, almost half of the previously 72.75 million thriving coconut trees. (SARWELL Q. MENIANO)