Wong sits in dialogue with furniture makers

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Gov. Araceli B. Wong met with the members of the Association of Furniture Makers all over Catanduanes, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 to sort out a compromise regarding the illegal cutting and transport of timber all over the province.

Also present were DENR head, Joaquin Ed Guerrero, ENRO’s Marlon Inigo, CENRO’s Luvimindo Chioco, and PPO/PNP Officer Virgilio D.Samas. The association headed by Edgar Balmadrid who also acted as spokesman for the group was given an amnesty from DENR concerning the hidden stocks of timber they use for their furniture-making business.

However, DENR head Guerrero advised them to present first a permit for inspection and inventory which is issued by the department and must also declare all the timber they hide for monitoring purposes. “Once inspectors find out that they are using timber beyond the amount they have declared, then they could be held liable for that,“ warned Guerrero, “ so that it is best to come out in the open and be transparent about it,” he further added.

Complaints were voiced out by the members most especially about the availability of the lumber materials they use in view of the total log ban enforced in the country.

CENRO’s Chioco reiterated that they can still avail of timber through the following means : through bidding, by cutting trees that are declared old and pose a danger to lives and properties, by using those left behind by poachers and repossessed by the authorities and by using mature trees they planted in their own backyard.

The governor admitted that there is no way illegal logging can be stopped except to address the issue and make compromises with those engaged in furniture business.

She, however, stressed the need to take extreme care of our natural resources especially the trees that act as deterrents to inundation and global warming, and the mangrove trees that act as excellent buffer to typhoon surges the likes of “Yolanda” which are predicted to occur with more frequency as the world becomes hotter.

Gov. Cely Wong further lectured on the necessity for everyone to heed the call of authorities and experts to preserve and protect the environment for the survival of humanity.

She personally warned against the repeat of the catastrophe that befell Leyte and the Visayas saying that it is not a remote possibility that we may also go through the same experience and that it will be best for us to be prepared in any eventuality. (PIMO)