Akilit expressed disgust over the inability of DENR and PNP officials to enhance the campaign for the sustainable preservation and protection of the environment because of the presence of rampant conversion of forested areas to vegetable farms, especially in Tinoc and Hungduan, Ifugao, aside from the proliferation of rampant illegal logging around the region.
Further, the local chief executive also proposed to the PNP a review of the plain view doctrine in the conduct of checkpoints to be able to arrest illegal transporters of illegal-sawn lumber from various forests in the region considering that illegal loggers and transporters of lumber now use closed vans that tends to prevent the law enforcers from inspecting what are inside the vehicles as they are limited to the plain view doctrine.
“We challenge the personnel of the environment department and our law enforcers to innovate their standard operating procedures in going after illegal loggers and transporters of illegally sawn lumbers so that we will be able to advance in our efforts to preserve and protect the environment. If we continue with our existing procedures, we will be sure that there will come a time that we will eventually lose our forest cover to illegal loggers and put our reforestation efforts to waste,” Mayor Akilit stressed.
He disclosed that since there was a change in leadership in the DENR-CAR over three years ago, there was the geo-tagging of the trees within the critical portions of the Mount Data watershed to ascertain the possible encroachments that will be done by the owners of vegetable farms and when one visits Google to compare the state of the watershed before and now, tee had been significant encroachments in the critical forest which was never prevented by DENR and PNP personnel amidst the presence in the different localities.
According to him, judges that should be assigned in the different courts in the Northern Luzon regions should also be environmentalists so that there will be a speedy disposition of environmental cases that are being filed in said courts to prevent the impression from the public that even the judiciary is not supportive of the government’s efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
Mayor Akilit underscored that it is disheartening to be aggressive in efforts to preserve and protect the environment when there are supposed to be partner agencies who seem not to value the efforts being done by the local governments when in fact what is being fought for in this case is a good state of environment that will be passed on to the present and future generations of inhabitants who deserve to reap the fruits of a balanced ecology for them to treasure the same like what had been done for the purpose of making people feel the importance of a balanced environment.