Board member eyes banning pine tree resin extraction in Bukidnon

Bukidnon News photo

Bukidnon News photo

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News.Net / 26 February) – Bukidnon provincial board member Nemesio Beltran Jr. proposed an ordinance seeking to ban extraction of pine tree resin anywhere in the province of Bukidnon.

Beltran told this reporter Monday the proposed ordinance was referred to
the board’s committee on laws for public hearing.

He said he proposed the ordinance to end the extraction of pine tree
resin within the 38,000-hectare area of the Bukidnon Forest Inc.’s
(BFI) Industrial Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) due to expire in
2016.

The BFI, run by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’
(DENR) Natural Resources Development Corporation, contracted the
Chinese firm Luda Chemicals, Inc. (LCI) to extract resin.

DENR-Bukidnon held about 500 sacks of resins on January 30 due to lack
of permit for the extraction.

The provincial board earlier passed a resolution, proposed by Beltran,
urging President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to cancel the BFI and LCI
contract. They also called on the President to terminate BFI’s IFMA.
They proposed, too, that BFI use its area for the national
government’s National Greening Program.

Beltran said the ordinance seeks to end resin extraction activities
anywhere in the province. He also proposed to penalize the violators
of the ordinance with six years imprisonment or a fine of P5,000 or
both, “at the discretion of the court.”

The board member cited in his proposed ordinance studies that revealed
that extraction could cause high rate and scope of forest fires
because the resin would “accordingly leak out to the base of the pine
tree and the accumulated deposits have been proven to be combustible
such that a grass burn could quickly ignite a tree and swiftly spread
to other trees.”

Dr. Felix Mirasol, DENR-Bukidnon chief, said in an earlier interview
that despite being asked to submit requirements for a permit to
extract, BFI refused and still managed to extract and transport
resins.

In his notes furnished to this reporter, Mirasol stressed their fear
of being accused of being “remiss of our function” due to the
continued refusal of BFI to document their oleoresin extraction.

“This happens out of courtesy to its (BFI) President who is our
Undersecretary and it (BFI) being a DENR-NRDC project,” he said,
referring to DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo Jr.

Mirasol said they have tried to stop the extraction of pine tree
resins because it is not part of the annual operation plan of BFI in
2012 and they have no extraction permit.

Mirasol told Bukidnon News.Net last week BFI has already applied for a permit.
DENR Bukidnon has started the process of checking on their
requirements, the first of which is an inventory of pine trees where
they tapped resin.

Reynaldo Abordo, BFI general manager, explained during an
administrative deliberation on February 13 that they obtained the nod
of the top leadership of the DENR with a BFI board resolution
authorizing them to proceed with the agreement with LCI. But BFI vowed
to apply for a permit.

Also during the deliberation, Belino Epie, of the Environmental Desk
of the Diocese of Malaybalay, asked the DENR to act on what to do with
the 500 sacks of pine tree resin it apprehended from LCI “and not only
discuss matters about securing a permit, an act in the future.”

Epie, who was joined by San Isidro assistant parish priest Fr. Noel
Suarez, who also heads the diocese’s pro-environment arm, clarified
that he never wanted to dictate what the DENR should do to the resins
they held on January 30.

“(I meant) that the DENR will pursue the case based on the rules and regulations,” he added in his recommendations in the deliberation, an administrative mechanism at the DENR conducted to draw recommendations about reported violations of environment laws. (Walter I. Balane /Bukidnon News)