Take Action: Suspend the Cutting and Exporting of Coco Lumber from Banton Island, Romblon

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Petition to Suspend Cutting and Export of Cocolumber from Banton Island, Romblon.

Uswag Bantoon is a non-profit SEC registered organization based in Barangay Tungonan, Municipality of Banton Romblon. Uswag Bantoon's ongoing project is tree planting with its objective of reforestation in the island with a population of about 6,500 based on the 2010 census.

Currently, the cutting of coconut trees in the island appears an ongoing activity without a plausible monitoring system and strict compliance of existing laws.
Our concerns are based on these verifiable facts:

1. Per information provided by Vice-Mayor Loi Jorge Fegalquin Fegalan on December 4, 2017 through social media:

A. “On July 2016, the Sangguniang Bayan passed Resolution # 37 A URGING ALL BARANGAY UNITS OF BANTON TO STRICTLY FOLLOW THE PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATION FOR THE CUTTING OF COCONUT TREES AS PROVIDE IN RA 10593.”

B. “A RESOLUTION NO 17, SERIES OF 2017 REQUIRES PHILIPPINE COCONUT AUTHORITY (PCA) ODIONGAN OFFICE TO STRICTLY LIMIT THE ISSUANCE OF CUTTING PERMIT FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES EXCEPT FOR LOCAL CONSUMPTION OR LOCAL INDUSTRY FROM AUUST 2017 TO MAY 2018.”

C. Vice-Mayor Fegalan further claims "pero until now, ang PCA Odiongan ay walang ginagawang action, instead continously approved applications of permit to cut na inapply ng ilang mga Bantoanon na gusto pa cut ang kanilang mga niyog"

D. Vice Mayor also claims that certain violations have already been committed and still on verification stage pending the gathering of supportive documents.

We, through our social media page, Uswag Bantoon, welcomed this post from PCA Agriculturist and Coconut Development Mr. Nicolas Ferranco:

a. The total number of coconut trees in Banton island 346,975; bearing trees 256,577; senile trees 33,759.

b. Trees cut for the year 2017 is 5,000.

We have sought more information from Mr. Ferranco if this is indeed verifiable, since on December 2015, typhoon Nona devastated almost half of the coconut trees in the island.

Meanwhile 5,000 coconut trees have been cut. In our estimate - to follow PCA's density estimate of 100 trees per hectare - 50 hectares of coconut trees were already cut. There is an uncontroverted matter of fact. Since August 2017, Starhorse Shipping Line loads 2-3 truckloads of cocolumber to Lucena City and this activity appears unabated. We, the organization and concerned Bantoanons in and out of the island appeal to the LGU of Banton, PCA and DENR Odiongan to suspend the cutting of coconut trees until such time the Sangguniang Bayan of Banton and/or other stakeholders complete its investigation of possible violations of the law.



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