The House of Representatives has approved the proposed "Sustainable Forest Management Act" that will impose lifetime imprisonment to those who are proven guilty of illegal logging activities.
Under House Bill 5485, collection of timber and other forest products amounting to P500,000 with no granted permission from the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be declared illegal with a sanction of lifetime imprisonment.
The bill seeks to provide policy direction in the formulation of strategies and programs for the protection and sustainable management of forest lands to enhance forest ecosystems services, according to the House's press release. It also seeks to restore our forests to its old grandeur and richness by implementing a plan for sustainable forest management.
As of year 2000, the leading cause of forest disturbance is illegal cutting, with a total of 4,920 hectares of land destroyed, the highest incidence since the 1990s.
Illegal logging was blamed for the December 2011 tropical storm Sendong flooding that hit Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and other parts of Mindanao, which killed thousands and caused billions of damage to properties and nature.
Photo: Ang Dabawenyo