The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) remembers its forest rangers and other environmental defenders whom they called as “heroes” who died in the line of duty as they celebrate the World Ranger Day yesterday, July 31, 2020.
They DENR said that illegal logging is identified as the third biggest contributor of environmental defender’s death.
“Forest rangers are among the casualties as they monitor, confiscate, apprehend and prosecute illegal activities,” the DENR said in a statement.
In a span of 17 years from 2001 to 2018, Palawan has one of the country’s biggest number of casualties of environmental defenders.
“From 2001 to 2018, 18 were killed in Palawan alone, while in line of duty,” the DENR further said in statement.
In 2018, or two years ago, the Global Witness tagged the Philippines as the country with highest number of killings of environmental defenders, surpassing that of Brazil. In that year alone, 20 new record of environmental defender’s death has been recorded in the country.
Last year, Bienvinido “Toto” Veguilla, an employee of the DENR assigned in El Nido Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA) was hacked-to-death when he was chased and cornered by illegal loggers in El Nido town.
The Provincial Government of Palawan has committed its support to DENR by providing 150 firearms to its enforcers. Last March 2020, some 20 firearms has been turned over by Governor Jose Ch. Alvarez to the DENR during a ceremony.
In a previous interview with DENR Provincial ENR Officer Eriberto Sanos, he said that they wanted to arm its enforcers and they should undergo proper training first, on handling firearms.