DENR-attached firm refused to get permit from us, says DENR Bukidnon
MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/08 February) – The Bukidnon Forests Inc. (BFI) based in this city had repeatedly refused to obtain a permit for extracting resin from pine trees within its area, Dr. Felix Mirasol, chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Bukidnon told MindaNews Thursday.
Mirasol explained the BFI needs a permit for such activity even if it is being run by the Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDC), the investment arm of the DENR.
Mirasol’s statement came a week after his office seized 500 sacks of Benguet pine tree resins weighing around 30,000 kilograms from a Chinese contractor of the BFI.
“They need to obtain a permit (before extraction). Now it’s illegal. That’s why we had been reminding them to get a permit,” he said.
Mirasol said he was apprehensive he might be accused of being “remiss in our function” due to the continued refusal of BFI to get a permit.
“This happens out of courtesy to its (BFI) president (Ernesto Adobo Jr.) who is our Undersecretary and its being a DENR-NRDC (Natural Resources Development Corporation) project,” he added.
BFI is the holder of a 25-year Industrial Forest Management Agreement covering 38,000 hectares and set to expire in 2016.
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 for 2012 and they have no extraction permit.
He said when they seized the resins on January 30, Adobo called him to question his decision.
Adobo did not respond to a text message from MindaNews requesting for a telephone interview on the issue.
According to a report obtained by DENR-Bukidnon, BFI’s contractor Luda Chemicals Inc. had already extracted 86.5 tons of resins from April to November 2012.
Mirasol said aside from being illegal, the extraction is also unsustainable. He cited published studies on oleoresin extraction in Benguet where only a few tappers followed regulations closely.
He added that tappers seldom earned the profit they desired in part because excessive rains caused by climate change prevented them from covering a wider area.
“By the early 1980s, the oleoresin industry lay in ruins,” he said.
Mirasol warned Bukidnon’s pine trees would be totally gone if the resin extraction would not be given serious thought.
He said he would not release the confiscated resin “until such time that appropriate authority is issued to BFI”.
Abordo told MindaNews via telephone Thursday that LCI had already suspended extraction.
He said last week they have already submitted requirements for a permit except the annual operation plan.
He claimed they had authority from DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and had even presented the project to the provincial board.
But provincial board member Nemesio Beltran Jr., who sponsored a resolution urging President Aquino to cancel BFI’s IFMA and contract with LCI, denied they had given any authority. He said BFI misled them.
“They were succinctly admonished not to proceed without the go-signal of the SP,” he added.
Abordo insisted the permit was not required when they started, as the transaction is between BFI and a private enterprise.
“We have assumed that it was within the authority of BFI (to engage in that transaction), he added. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)