The environment department in Central Visayas is giving wood processing plants and lumber dealers operating without permits until the end of March to comply with the requirement.
“We are giving those operators to fully comply with the requirements of the forestry laws until March 2012, after such time we shall have implemented the closure of certain establishments for non-compliance,” said Regional Executive Director Maximo O. Dichoso of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas.
Dichoso issued the warning last Feb. 28 after finding out that 321 out of 479 wood processing plants and lumber dealer establishments in Central Visayas were operating without the necessary permits from the DENR.
He said these firms would account for about 67 percent of the total number of wood processing plant and lumber dealers in the region.
He identified these firms as hindering the anti-illegal logging programs of the agency.
Dichoso issued a notice of violation (NOV) to 321 wood processing plant operators and lumber dealers without the appropriate permit early this year.
The operators of wood processing plant and lumber dealer need a wood processing plant permit operating permit to sawmill, mini-sawmill, re-saw permit, plywood/veneer plants, blockboards, fiberboard, particle board and other wood based panel plants and wood treating plants.
It is issued to the holders of existing timber license agreements or permits and for those non-timber holders.
With approved equity participation agreement, an operator may be granted a permit not exceeding two years.
The DENR-7 conducted an inventory initiated by the community environment and natural resources offices (CENROs) showed that 70 percent of the firms in Cebu province operate without permit.
Of the 188 operating firms, only 81 have the necessary permits.
In Bohol, 31 have permit while 50 have no permit accounting to about 62 percent of illegal operators.
Negros Oriental had a total of 108 establishments, while 63 have no permit to operate.
Siquijor has the highest non-compliance in the region, where 20 out 21 operators have no permits.
“The DENR pursues a more strong campaign against environmental law violators as environmental law enforcement is one of the priority thrusts of DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje,” Dichoso added. /Reporter Candeze R. Mongaya