By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is retrieving thousands of a mix of old-growth and secondary trees that were indiscriminately felled by Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) operating in Palawan.
All entry and exit points within the 2,835-hectare Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area of the mining firm have been placed under close monitoring by the DENR.
DENR-Mimaropa Regional Director Natividad Bernardino said a total of 34 forestry officers and workers – 18 from the DENR regional office and 16 from Palawan provincial government – have been deployed to the INC’s mining area in Brooke’s Point town to do an inventory and retrieve the felled trees, which are considered government property.
Bernardino said her office has been coordinating with concerned local government executives, particularly Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez and Brooke’s Point Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano, in transferring the felled trees to a secured location which both the DENR and the local government unit (LGU) have identified to prevent them from getting poached.
Based on initial reports, the INC cut down some 7,000 trees within 30 hectares of land within the MPSA programmed for mining operations for years 1 and 2, and for the development of a road network covering an area of 52.15 hectares.
Majority of the felled trees are reportedly premium native species, such as malabayabas, apitongbaboy, nato and agoho.