Surigao Norte gov mulls creation of special task force to safeguard environment

Gov. Robert Ace S. Barbers declared recently that there is a need of a special team to give focus on the enforcement of environmental laws in order to curb the illegal operations affecting the environmental and natural resources of this province as well as facilitate a speedy filing of cases against violator

The recent drive of the provincial government against illegal mining, illegal logging and illegal fishing resulted to a series of apprehensions in the municipalities of Claver, Placer, Tubod, Alegria and Malimono.

"This is our advocacy…the people's advocacy", added the governor. "We in the province cannot do it alone as different enforcement agencies and department have different standard operating procedures in the enforcement of the law", stressed the governor.

In order to harmonize the standard operating procedures of the different enforcement agencies, the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte through the Provincial Environment and Management Office (PEMO) initiated an Interface Meeting last March 27, 2008 to trace out issues and concerns and come out with a synchronized concrete plan.

If the Special Task Force Kinaiyahan will be formally organized through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and an Executive Order, it is expected to have a strong inter-agency coordination and jointly provide assistance in the operational and legal aspects of intelligence and enforcement.

The Task Force will be composed of the different enforcement agencies, national line agencies and private organizations with concerns on the environment such as the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, the local Maritime and Coastguard Offices, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of Environment and Natural Resouces and Surigao del Norte NGO Coalition for Development among others.

"We are dead-serious in our enforcing environmental laws. This is part of our efforts towards protecting and managing our environment and natural resources through the Advocacy for a Clean Environment and its Sustainability (ACES) Program," said the governor. (PEMO/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

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