DENR-CARAGA partners with Local Government to Strengthen Forest Protection

DENR-CARAGA and the local government of Esperanza commit to jointly patrol and respond to threats in the forest areas of Esperanza. This is the first DENR-LGU partnership for forest protection in the CARAGA region.

DENR-CARAGA and the local government unit of Esperanza in the province of Agusan del Sur forged a partnership to strengthen forest protection through a memorandum of agreement signed on September 4, 2017 by DENR-CARAGA OIC Regional Director Dr. Charlie Fabre and Esperanza Mayor Leonida P. Manpatilan. The partnership, which was facilitated by USAID’s B+WISER Program, is the first DENR-LGU partnership for forest protection in the CARAGA region.

Under the memorandum of agreement, the partners commit to jointly patrol and respond to threats in Esperanza’s forests. Esperanza, located within CENRO Bayugan, is one of the illegal logging hotspots in the CARAGA region. CENRO Bayugan is responsible for the protection of more than 100,000 hectares of forests in their jurisdiction.

During the MOA signing activity, local leaders welcomed the partnership between their municipality and DENR-CARAGA. Mayor Manpatilan stressed that Esperanza still harbors large forests areas that need to be protected for the benefit of the local and indigenous population. Parts of these forests are the ancestral domain of Esperanza’s indigenous community. Speaking on behalf of Esperanza’s indigenous community, Municipal Councilor Victor B. Manpatilan pointed out that the partnership will also help protect the IP community’s ancestral domain and preserve their indigenous culture and heritage.

In support of the local government’s drive to curb illegal logging activities, DENR-CARAGA OIC Regional Director Fabre also announced during the activity that DENR-CARAGA is set on deputizing municipal patrollers as a next step. The deputation of municipal patrollers will give them authority to apprehend violators, thereby strengthening responses to forest threats. USAID’s B+WISER Program has previously trained local patrollers of LGU Esperanza in doing purposive patrols and responding to threats on the ground, key elements of the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System developed by USAID’s B+WISER Program and DENR.

 

Photo caption: Dr. Charlie Fabre, DENR-CARAGA OIC Regional Director, and LGU Esperanza Mayor Leonida P. Manpatilan sign the memorandum of agreement to jointly patrol and respond to threats in Esperanza’s forest areas. USAID’s B+WISER Program facilitated the partnership between DENR-CARAGA and the local government of Esperanza.