By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN City – Following the order of Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu’s to lift the suspension on the issuance of transportation permit for all forest products and wildlife, and to accept, process, and issue transport-related permits or documents for all forest products and wildlife, the DENR in Eastern Visayas is gearing up for the possible upsurge in the number of applicants for transport permit and documents.
The instruction comes in consideration of the results of the assessment of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Recovery Plan which already allows social and economic activities to proceed.
“While we will try to accommodate and expedite the process, we shall not also be complacent and lower our guards against the deadly virus as we will ensure the strict observance of health and safety protocols laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ATF-EID) and the Department of Health (DoH),” Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr. said.
He added that while easing down the suspension, the applicants still need to obtain the needed documents such as Certificate of Timber Origin/Certificate of Lumber Origin (CTO/CLO) to ensure the legitimacy of their source.
Prior to the transport of the forest products, the applicant also needs to comply with other documentary requirements such as valid harvesting permit, approved Wood Processing Plant (WPP) Permit/Certificate of Registration as Lumber Dealer, approved Log Supply Contracts or its equivalent, among others.
“The same information should be forwarded by the concerned CENRO/Implementing PENRO to the DENR field office that has jurisdiction of the destination or to the regional office itself,” he said.
The issuance of transport permits was suspended in March as an added protection against the spread of COVID-19 pursuant to Republic Act No. 11469, the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.” This resulted in the stoppage of businesses and industries that were dependent on the buying and transportation of forest products and wildlife.
He said the suspension has led to loss of government revenue from the collection of fees on forestry-related services in Region 8 amounting to at least P1 million from an average of P1.2 million revenue for the month of April in the previous years down to P590,555.23 in April, 2020.
This includes forest tenurial instruments/permits and other forest charges of even licensed lumber dealers in the region, their employees, and other related businesses.
“It is our desire that the lifting of the suspension can help boost the economic recovery in the region after the economic lockdown and start getting back on our feet,” Parian added. (Marie Tonette Marticio)