Public schools in the province of Palawan will be the beneficiaries of the lumber from thousands of trees illegally cut by Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) in Brooke’s Point town more than two years ago.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that the lumber, presently under the custody of Brgy. Ipilan, will be donated to the Department of Education (DepEd).
Eriberto Sanos, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, said that the donation will enable the public to benefit.
“Marami yan eh. Ang DepEd ay wala silang budget para testesin ang mga kahoy kaya tutulungan sila ng probinsya. Kaya lang ay nabawasan na ito. Kasi may nabulok na, kasi matagal na,” he said.
Felizardo Cayatoc, Puerto Princesa Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer, said that the lumber will be fabricated into chairs and tables for public schools in the entire province.
“Ang mangyayari dyan e-donate ng DENR sa DepEd pero ang provincial government ang magpapagawa at gagastos para sa mga upuan at lamesa tsaka e do-donate sa mga schools.Hindi pa malaman ang volume nito at baka may mga bulok na. Sa Brgy. Ipilan ito naka stock pile lahat doon,” he said.
In 2017, thousands of trees were reportedly cut down by INC in their mining site located in Brooke’s Point town. The unlawful tree-cutting activities resulted to the damage of a total of 25 hectares of forest in Barangays Maasin and Ipilan.
The town mayor, Atty. Jean Feliciano, personally led her constituents to protest against INC’s action. She also pushed for the revocation of the company’s SEP clearance from Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).
In that same year, the DENR through Brooke’s Point Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Conrado Corpuz, filed at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor a criminal charge against INC for violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines.
DENR issued INC a special tree cutting permit in May 2016 as part of its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA).
However, former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez cancelled INC’s environmental compliance certificate (ECC) on December 16, 2016, rendering its tree cutting permit invalid. INC argued its tree cutting permit remains valid.