Malacanang says Aquino has no intention to backing off EO 23

February 6, 2011 11:24 am 

MANILA, Feb. 5 — President Benigno S. Aquino III has no intention to withdraw his decision in imposing the indefinite and comprehensive nationwide restriction on logging despite the opposition from the wood producers.

“I think there is no intention (for the President) to back off this restriction on logging,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ramon Carandang said in a radio interview over Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

Carandang stressed that even the President himself is aware that his Executive Order No. 23 which he issued last Thursday will meet opposition from the wood industry but there is a need to implement it as part of the duty of the State to protect the environment.

“Alam naman natin na may papalag dito sa EO na ito, pero ayon nga kay Pangulong Aquino, this is an investment in the country’s future and in our own environment,” Carandang said, adding that the President has a “strong political will” to enforce EO 23.

Carandang reminded the wood industry that the objective of EO 23 is more on restriction on logging and not a total log ban.

He said anybody from the wood industry who has existing permit and no record of illegal logging activities can continue with their operation, as long as their business operation is legal.

On Thursday, the President ordered a nationwide logging moratorium on Philippine national and residual forests to protect and stop the destruction of watersheds and river systems and created a task force to lead the government’s campaign against illegal logging.

Under EO 23, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is instructed to stop logging firms from cutting trees while it is in the process of reviewing all existing logging agreements.

The agency is tasked to immediately cancel the concessions of logging companies that have violated forest laws. The DENR is also prohibited from issuing and renewing logging contracts and tree cutting permits in all natural and residual forests. (PNA)

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