2 DENR officials in Zamboanga Peninsula relieved
MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the relief of his regional director in the Zamboanga Peninsula as well as the chief of the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO).
"Enough is enough. It's not just because of command responsibility. We also want to know if there was negligence among my men," Cimatu said in a statement on Thursday, January 11.
This came after President Rodrigo Duterte himself ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to suspend two logging concessions in the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Cimatu on Thursday said Zamboanga Peninsula regional director Felix Mirasol Jr and Zamboanga del Norte provincial environment and natural resources officer Geoffrey Zayas were relieved pending the investigation into the logging concessions.
Carlito Tuballa, the new officer-in-charge regional director, previously served as assistant regional director for Eastern Visayas. Salahudin Caing, meanwhile, replaces Zayas.
"This is not just a warning. We will do it," said Cimatu, noting that he will not hesitate to file charges against any DENR personnel found conniving with Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) violators in "illegal activities."
According to the DENR, Cimatu directed his field officers all over the country to be "more vigilant" and to "strictly enforce the law against firms that are not complying with the DENR regulations."
Cimatu, who was in Zamboanga on Thursday, led an aerial inspection of the extent of environmental damage caused by the operations of private companies that were granted an IFMA.
Companies under an IFMA are "allowed to establish industrial tree plantations in the area but are restricted to cut residual trees unless authorized by the DENR Secretary."
Cimatu has already ordered a review of 104 companies in the country that were granted IFMAs. – Rappler.com