A National Unity Party (NUP) lawmaker is pushing the swift approval of a measure authorizing the community office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue permits to landowners for the cutting, gathering and use of naturally grown trees, but only for personal and private purposes.
Palawan Representative Frederick Abueg said his measure, House Bill 5284, aims to speed up the process of cutting dead and infected trees that pose danger to the lives and property of landowners.
Abueg said that while Executive Order No. 23 issued by President Benigno Aquino III declaring a moratorium on tree cutting aims to protect the country’s remaining forest cover, the directive is silent on the status of trees that endanger human safety.
“Additionally, since the current requisite prior to the issuance of tree-cutting permit involves joint efforts of the local government units concerned and the DENR Regional Office and/or the DENR Central Office, the pace is rather slow resulting to a bottleneck in these offices and non-issuance of permits to well-intentioned applications," Abueg noted.
He said his measure aims to address these delays by providing landowners “freedom, within their titled lots, to make use of naturally grown trees for personal and private purposes only.”
“If the cutting is inevitable and only the last resort in the implementation of a project or construction of an infrastructure within the private land of the owner, this bill likewise addresses such concern," Abueg added.
Under HB 5284, the Community Environment and Natural Resource Office (CENRO) of the DENR, having jurisdiction over the parcel subject of the application, “shall be authorized to issue tree-cutting permits to landowners for the cutting, gathering and utilization of naturally grown trees in private and or titled lands subject to the guidelines of the DENR.