DENR gets unmanned aircraft to fight illegal logging in Caraga Region


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Caraga Region is using a prototype Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology popularly known as “drone” developed by Filipino scientists and engineers in an effort to closely monitor the activities and movement of illegal logging operations in the remote mountain villages of the region.

At the same time, the Forest Management Sector headed by OIC Regional Technical Director Marites C. Ocampo said she would use and analyze the data and pictures that are taken through the video camera of the UAV related to the National Greening Program (NGP) being implemented by the DENR.

“We want to know the exact situation of planted tree species of the NGP at the site designated by our PENRO and CENRO officers to guide the management in decision making process,” Ocampo said.

SKYEYE, the operator of the UAV gave a complete briefing of the UAV operations to PENRO Roberto Oliveros in Agusan del Sur and PENRO Merlinda R. Manila in Surigao del Sur at the DENR Regional Office in the presence of the Regional Executive Director Nonito M. Tamayo and RTD Ocampo on Tuesday in a move to have a better understanding of the technology.

Tamayo said “for the first time, the DENR is adopting the unmanned aircraft in monitoring the activities and movement of illegal logging in the region considering the complexities of this annoying problem.”

He said that several attempts have been made in the past to solve this problem but little breakthrough has been achieved so far.

“We cannot afford to relax our campaign. Those timber poachers and log smugglers are always there waiting for every opportunity to break in and transport those illegal logs,” Tamayo said.

“In that case we would be sure, the DENR shall always stand on their way to stop them and that appropriate cases be filed against those culprits so they land in jail,” he said.

He said the incidence of illegal logging in the region has been sustained to its low level record as compared in the past. Although there are reports of apprehensions of cargo trucks transporting illegal logs, the PNP and the Philippine Army soldiers are constantly on alert to stop it, he said.

Incidentally, the UAV could likewise help the top DENR management in identifying the weak areas in the reforestation activities under the National Greening Program.

He said “the DENR Caraga Region is vying for the best agency performer among other regional offices this year hence, we want to make sure the documentations being submitted to the central office are proper and correct.”

The poor performers, he said, shall have to face corresponding disciplinary actions for their failures.

Tamayo said the UAV technology is expected to minimize the high risk of lives among the DENR personnel engaged in anti-illegal logging campaign at the front lines. (FEA/Eric F. Gallego, DENR-13/PIA-Caraga)