By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday called on the public to avoid anything that could start fire in the different mountain slopes in the five provinces in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region.
The DENR Caraga Region 13 also asked local officials to help especially now that thousands of hectares of tree plantation areas are sprouting in the different areas in the region.
“Please help us and let us not start any fire in the mountains because it is indeed difficult to contain fire in this kind of El Niño weather disturbance,” said DENR 13 Regional Executive Director (RED) Atty. Felix S. Alicer.
“We have been able to gradually bring back the good condition of our mountains through our massive and continuing tree-planting and protection program. Thus, let us protect it,” he said.
Triggers of forest fires could include indiscriminate throwing of cigarette butts, burning of trash, and “kaingin” or slash and burn farming. “These must be avoided,” stressed Alicer.
The DENR Caraga Region 13 is raising awareness on forest protection to also stop timber poaching.
Alicer said the agency stepped up forest protection efforts in time for the global celebration of International Day of the Forests (IDF) last March 21.
The DENR’s forest protection activities all relate to the objectives of the celebration of IDF, which is to raise awareness on how sustainably managed forests contribute to a healthy environment.
Forests secure the soil and water resources, mitigate climate change, provide habitat for animals, and livelihood for human.
Alicer ordered all PENROs and CENROs spread in the different areas in the region to step up massive information, education and communication drives, strictly monitor timber poaching activities in their assigned areas, and closely coordinate with apprehending authorities for the conduct of anti-timber poaching operations.