The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has integrated the guarding of forests in its emergency employment program in a bid to boost the enforcement of environmental laws, particularly the government’s campaign against illegal logging.
DENR Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said they signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the mobilization of TUPAD workers and integration as forest rangers.
Laguesma said the main responsibility of the forest guards is to set up an intensive patrol in the forest, seedling production, establishing plantations, and assisting in forest protection activities in support of the DENR’s Improved National Forest Protection Program.
According to Laguesma, the MOA signing with DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga was witnessed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
He said the MOA will be implemented by the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) and the Regional /Field Offices assigned to hire workers to be deployed in areas identified by the DENR Forest Management Bureau.
DOLE also allocated funds to cover the prevailing daily minimum wage in the region as well as the administrative cost for personal protective equipment and group personal accident insurance of workers who will be hired.
The department will assign a sequencer coordinator for the reforestation program to monitor and ensure the smooth implementation of the program.
“Those who will be hired will augment the current number of Forest Rangers who will conduct patrolling, seedling production, plantation establishment, and protection activities,” Laguesma said.
DOLE also tapped the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and its accredited training institutions to conduct appropriate skills training; and assist in the advocacy of environment-related laws, rules, and regulations for the TUPAD workers assigned as forest rangers.
“The agreement is in line with the directive of the President to prioritize mitigation of the worst impacts of climate change in the country through the establishment of livable and sustainable communities, including the adoption of a green economy roadmap which is one of the key strategies of green jobs creation,” said Laguesma.