Getting ready for the reality. Participants learn the arrest, seizure and detention protocol to follow when apprehending violators.

DENR-7, in partnership with CRERDEC, conducted a paralegal training for the deputation of Environment and Natural Resources Officer (ENRO) and/or Wildlife Enforcement Officer (WEO) on July 22-23, 2020 at CRERDEC Training Hall, Camp 7, Minglanilla, Cebu. Fifteen male participants, composed of Barangay Police Officers or “Barangay Tanod” and officials handling the environment and tourism concerns of Barangay Camp 7 and Barangay Manipis, as well as the two Bantay-Gubat of CRERDEC attended the said training. A representative from the Camp 7 Non-Timber Planters Multipurpose Cooperative also participated in the activity.

The DENR-7 Enforcement Division staff enlightened the participants on the provisions of some of the most relevant laws and policies, namely: wildlife resources protection and conservation act (RA 9147) including species identification focusing on commonly-traded species; national cave resources management and protection act (RA 1970); national integrated protected areas system act (RA 7586); revised forestry code of the Philippines (PD 705) and the current state of forestry law enforcement; chainsaw act (RA 9175); and revised guidelines on the deputation of ENR Officer (DAO 2008-22).

Also discussed were topics on the custody and disposition of confiscated/seized wildlife and forest product as well as rules and procedures of environmental cases including arrest, search, seizure and detention. Role-playing by the participants on the arrest and detention of violators concluded the two-day activity.

The protection of forests and natural resources are inherently crucial to ensure environmental stability, conserve biological diversity, improve ecosystem functions and services, and provide long-term ecological and economic benefits. Despite our efforts to protect forests from total deforestation, this ecosystem is hanging in the balance due to increasing pressure to convert forests into croplands, pasture lands, and monoculture plantations and even aggravated by illegal utilization of timber for charcoal and other income-generating activities.

Current protection measures are inadequate to reduce activities that could eventually degrade the ecological and economic value of forests. Our very own century-old forest in Central Visayas, the Osmena Reforestation Project (ORP) within which CRERDEC’s 123.4-hectare Experimental Forest is situated, is not exempted from these threats. Collaborative efforts, thus, are needed more than ever before.

The recently conducted paralegal training which is needed in the deputation of CRERDEC Bantay-Gubat, tanod/officials of concerned barangays, and other volunteers is one of such collaborative efforts by the stakeholders.

DENR-7, together with the DILG-7, and the concerned LGUs of Talisay City and Minglanilla share the responsibility of the sustainable management and utilization of forest resources as mandated by Republic Act. No.7160 or the Local Government Code. Along with CRERDEC and the stakeholder communities, they hope to make protection of the remaining forest in the area stronger and more effective through the said training. CRERDEC