ARMM seeks MILF help in curbing illegal logging

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/18 January) — The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has asked the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to help curb illegal logging activities in the region.

ARMM  OIC Governor Mujiv Hataman said he has received “verbal commitments” from the MILF, which is negotiating peace with government.

He added the regional government would also involve the MILF in the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP) in the ARMM.

Von Al Haq, MILF spokesperson, said they welcome the move to have them participate in efforts to lick illegal logging and in the implementation of NGP.

“It is a noble project and we in the MILF are very supportive of this kind of undertaking,” Al Haq said in a telephone interview.

A report at the Moro rebel’s website said the MILF favors a total log ban in Mindanao, especially in areas where it has presence, influence or control, to ensure that the environment will be preserved for the incoming Moro generations.

Last Monday, Hataman and Enviroment Secretary Ramon Paje forged an agreement for the reforestation of at least 2,500 hectares of denuded mountains in the region under the NGP.

In a statement, Paje committed some P49.6 million in financial assistance to enable the ARMM  to carry out a massive tree-planting program within the five provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“This collaboration sets a critical milestone in ecological governance for the region and bodes well for addressing the social and economic challenges which the region undoubtedly faces,” he said.

Paje also said that the NGP collaboration between the ARMM and the DENR was in compliance with President Aquino’s instruction to assist in the management of the region’s natural wealth, particularly its forest-based resources.

“The fuel that powers ARMM’s economic engine is resource-based and we in the national government will assist our brothers and sisters in the ARMM in the resource management of the region,” Paje noted.

Hataman said the NGP “is now a major tool he can use in addressing illegal logging in the ARMM” since the program offers alternative livelihood to forest-based communities that are usually enticed to engage in illegal logging activities due to lack of livelihood opportunities in the uplands.

The former Anak Mindanao party-list representative assumed the post of OIC Governor on December 22, five days after flashfloods unleashed by Typhoon Sendong, killed at least a thousand persons in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

The flashfloods in the two cities were partly blamed on the illegal logging activities in Lanao del Sur.  (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)

 

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2012/01/19/armm-seeks-milf-help-in-curbing-illegal-logging/

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