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DENR: Aweca Agro-Forest Industries Legal; Complies with Log Ban
JOEL P. MAPILES
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Task Force headed by Col. Esperidion Javier tasked to investigate the complaint of the non-government organizations (NGOs) headed by Project Margarita against Aweca Agro-Forest Industries Corporation on alleged illegal activities made it clear that the corporation is a legitimate and registered entity who has been an active partner of the government in the protection and preservation of the forest and the environment for the past more than 20 years.
“It has religiously complied with all the requirements, terms and conditions of the Integrated Forest Management Agreement(IFMA),” the DENR Task Force said.
As this developed, Aweca Agro-Forest Industries Corporation based in this city has also fully complied with and expressed full respect to Executive Order No. 23 of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino declaring a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the national and residual forests.
In full compliance with the total log ban issued by the President on naturally grown trees, Aweca Agro-Forest has stopped its operation in Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac in spite of its permit to cut planted trees.
The investigating team of the DENR clarified that the Aweca Agro-Forest Industries Corporation based in the City of San Fernando is a holder of IFMA No. 03 issued on December 4, 1991 by then Secretary Fulgencio Factoran Jr. and will expire on December 31, 2016.
The IFMA is situated at Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac covering a total area of 5,000 hectares that includes 2,190 hectares of degraded residual forest (inadequately stocked) and 2,810 hectares of productive residual forest (adequately-stocked areas).
Since the issuance of IFMA, AWECA had developed the degraded residual forest into plantations of various forest tree species. The productive residual forest was maintained and protected by the company and few hectares were planted within rattan species and some fruit and agricultural crops.
The company, since the issuance of the IFMA, had religiously complied with all the terms and conditions of the agreement and, as recognition,it was awarded with certificate of commendation on May 18,2005 by then Regional Technical Director Ricardo L. Calderon “ for establishing 2,810 hectares of man-made forest in Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac.”
On January 13 2006, the Comprehensive Development and Management Plan (CDMP) of Aweca was approved by then Secretary Michael Defensor which includes the authority to harvest planted trees.
On March 5, 2008, then Secretary Joselito Atienza, Jr. issued Wood Processing Plant Permit (Mini-Sawmill) No. R-3-01-2008 to AWECA which has a daily capacity of approximately 6,000 board feet or 14.15 cubic meters per 8-hour shift.
On March 2009, the company requested clearance to harvest naturally-grown trees pursuant to the terms and conditions of the IFMA Agreement, particularly Item 22 thereof which states that, “that the lessee shall be allowed to cut and utilized naturally-grown trees in adequately stocked natural forest in accordance with selective logging operations and only after all open denuded brushland and inadequately stock areas have been developed/ planted.”
On November 13, 2009, Secretary Atienza, Jr. granted clearance for AWECA to harvest matured and over-matured naturally-grown trees within their IFMA area.
On November 21, 2009, the secretary has also approved for implementation the Five (5) Year Integrated Operations Plan (FYIOP) of the company.