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Free for haul
By Conrado R. Banal III Philippine Daily Inquirer
11:55 pm | Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 0 10 0

By now, thousands of workers in wood processing industries have lost their jobs due to the Aquino (Part II) administration’s imposition of what it called “moratorium” on logging. The moratorium has already lasted for about one and a half years now. The administration imposed the moratorium that, in effect, became a total logging ban nationwide through Executive Order 83, issued in January 2011. Part of the order was for the DENR to evaluate logging companies, the legitimate ones, at least, which the last time I checked were only about 10. Nobody in the DENR could say if the evaluation of those 10 firms would take several lifetimes. To think that the order of our leader, BS, just came from out of the blue, meaning, without consultation with the affected industries, or a scientific paper to pass for basis, or even a support program for the poor families of the thousands of workers who would lose their jobs. The wood industries lost hope long ago. Our leader Benigno Simeon (aka BS) refused to give them an audience, despite four repeated attempts by the industry big boys to sit down with him, even using some political “channels” here and there. Thus, the companies closed down their businesses, rendering thousands of people jobless. The administration did not have a ready program, such as an alternative livelihood plan or emergency assistance, for the thousands who would suffer from its haphazard action. What do you think those desperate men would do to feed their families? Well, they could go up to the mountains to take up arms against the government. Because they knew the logging business only too well, a number of them might be forced to look for the same type of work in the underground—in illegal logging. Just listen to the dean of the UP College of Forestry and Natural Resources in Los Baños, doctorate degree holder Rex Victor Cruz, who was part of the UN Working Group on Climate Change team that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2011 he voiced out reservations on the logging ban: “Since these concessions (i.e. where legitimate logging companies operate—Breaktime) would not be managed well and guarded, the net effect would be far greater despoliation of the forests that a log ban seeks to protect.” In other words, in forests all over the country, it would be free for all, everybody hauling away whole forests tax-free. That was already determined in studies conducted by UP Los Baños in 2004, when the administration of Gloriaetta imposed a logging ban, which showed that logging concessions were in far worse conditions after the ban. Who knows that maybe the DENR only forgot to present those studies to our leader BS? Make no mistake—illegal logging has become a lucrative business. The government lost almost P1 billion in yearly tax revenue from the legitimate wood industries. You would think that, because of the total ban, our importation of logs would explode all the way to another galaxy. For where would we get the lumber for the ongoing construction boom, plus all the wood for furniture, doors, window frames, all for export, amounting to close to $1 billion a year? On the contrary, the BoC has put log importation on a sharp downtrend, and it could not even blame smuggling, simply because log importation carried zero tariff. Admittedly, being smuggled blatantly were shiploads of cheap substandard plywood from China. Not logs.

never forgetting to point out that the DENR could not possibly police all the forests in the country because of its limited manpower. the syndicates were even murdering the helpless DENR personnel. Of course our dear DENR secretary always had a ready excuse for the sudden rash of illegal logging.” Why then did the DENR issue permits for sawmills up in the mountains despite the total logging ban? Now. which never made sense. Good heavens. BS? Soure: http://business. There were none. during which he never advocated the total logging ban —has fooled our leader BS by promising him that the ban would finally put an end to illegal logging in the country. because by then. and the logs seized by the DENR were reportedly only a small portion of the harvest from illegal logging. should be proof to our leader. period. illegal logging has been thriving despite the total nationwide ban. it would be logical for sawmills to locate near the piers to save on transport costs for the bulky raw materials. The job of the DENR was not just to confiscate the illegal logs. the military and personnel of the DENR itself. the DENR fancied itself to be doing its job when it announced the seizure of some logs from illegal cutting every now and then. also ordered the DENR to close down sawmills that would have no “sustainable sources of legally cut logs for at least five years. where do you think the syndicates got the manpower if not from the hordes of workers who lost their jobs due to the arbitrary ban imposed by our leader. That the DENR had illegal logs to seize at all. BS. right? This is the department whose head. Yet our leader. BS. What was the source of the raw material. and that perhaps Paje did not know what he was doing when he recommended the total ban. Secretary Ramon Paje—who has been in the DENR as undersecretary for the past 20 years. The real job of the DENR. 20120 Comment . thanks to well-organized heavily armed syndicates using modern equipment and enjoying the protection of politicians. the damage has already been done. There were logs to be seized. our beloved DENR has been issuing permits for sawmill operations up there in the mountains. that the ban was a miserable failure.The price of lumber has been holding despite the logging ban. of course.inquirer. because it would cost the sawmills a fortune to transport imported logs and the finished lumber back and forth. by the DENR’s own admission. On the contrary. Again. was to stop the cutting of trees in the forest. the police. the logs? If there were really a rush of importation. It did not. It follows that.net/67789/free-for-haul PH furniture exporters seek urgent help on logging issues Posted by Liza on July 1. in the aftermath of the nationwide logging ban.

” Aside from the clarificatory press release. Inc (PHILEXPORT). was issued in February 2011 as government’s response to widespread flooding and landslides in Mindanao. the DENR is restricted from issuing logging permits and contracts “in all natural and residual forests. Philippine National Police chief Director General Raul Bacalzo and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Ricardo David.” including renewing tree-cutting permits in all forests all over the country. “Our trucks are stopped on the road even if they are carrying plantation species which are exempted from EO 23.Philippine furniture exporters reiterated their call for government to act on pressing industry concerns before these issues “kill” the industry. Eastern Visayas and Bicol where scores of people have died and were displaced. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. veneer plants and other wood processing plants “that are unable to present proof of sustainable sources of legally cut logs for a period of at least five years within one month from effectivity of this EO. noting that a clarificatory press release from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is in order. The only exceptions to the log ban are those that involve the “clearing of road right of way. site preparation for tree plantations… provided that all logs derived from these permits shall be turned over to DENR for proper disposal. she said.” the EO stated further.” she noted. The directive imposes an indefinite log ban to be implemented by the DENR with assistance from Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.” EO 23 entitled “Declaring a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the national and residual forests and creating the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force”. Under the EO. she said. “This does not only cause delay in production and shipment of furniture products.” Cutting of trees that have been part of cultural activities of indigenous peoples “may be allowed only subject to strict compliance with existing guidelines of the DENR. Bituin said industry players have offered other suggestions to help address concerns of their members and assist the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force do its job better. trustee for the furniture sector of the Philippine Exporters Confederation. causing the closure of many big and small furniture companies. . Myrna Bituin. said Executive Order 23 poses major difficulties to manufacturers and exporters. The EO also tasked the DENR to prohibit the operation of sawmills. but is also costing us a lot. The EO’s coverage has caused confusion among enforcers. One is the installation of CCTV cameras at check points as deterrent against extortion activities which many of their members have been suffering from.

Bituin added furniture exporters are also advocating for the streamlining of import requirements provided in the DENR Administrative Order 99-46 especially in light of the logging moratorium. 3. 8.    POPULAR FEATURES OPINION 1. furniture exporters face another challenge with the implementation of the requirement to be certified under the Forest Stewardship Council standards of sourcing from sustainable forests. “But as it is. PSA forge strategic partnership Burgeoning automotive industry bolsters SEA engineering plastics market Kerry Logistics wins Asian 3PL of the Year Award again .” said Bituin.” Come March 2013.freedigitalphotos. “If we cannot use local wood. 10. the requirements for us to secure consular authentication for our imports is not only impossible and costly in countries where we do not have foreign posts.. 6. Be the first to leave a reply! You must be logged in to post a comment.. 4. This is another area of discussion with and resolution by the DENR. 5. Busan Port. “We are not yet ready.net Tags: Philippine furniture exporters seeks clarification on EO 23 No comments yet. Stack Of Felled Wood by Dr Joseph Valks Image courtesy of www.Another is to set up a hotline for exporters for related issues. CTAP increase in hauling rates Truckers approve 20% hike in rate LBC is PH's top domestic airfreight forwarder Christmas 2011 IT Wish List PEZA’s automated export system for adoption in Feb Bureau Veritas joins Cotecna as bulk cargo surveyor Mandatory adoption of PH automated export system scheduled in June Lorenzo Shipping eyes higher income for the year Export zone body tests automated export system Austal commits $15M to PH operations         PRESS RELEASES COMMENTS ARCHIVES Buzz Twitter Facebook RSS Email 1. 7. We also find this irrelevant. 3.” she explained. Government has to accredit third -party certifiers under this program. 9. 2. 2. then we should have easier access to imported wood and other materials so that our production will not be hampered.

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