DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has ordered the lifting of suspension on the issuance of transportation permit for all forest products and wildlife.

In a memorandum signed on May 1, 2020, Secretary Cimatu gave the instruction to all Regional Executive Directors of the Department to accept, process and issue transport-related permits or documents for all forest products and wildlife being issued by the DENR. The instruction comes in consideration of the results of the assessment of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on COVID-19 Recovery Plan which already allows social and economic activities to proceed.

Following this instruction, the DENR in Eastern Visayas is now gearing up for the possible upsurge of applicants for transport permit and documents for all forest products and wildlife. “While we will try to accommodate and expedite the process, we shall not also be complacent and lower our guards against the deadly virus as we will ensure the strict observance of health and safety protocols laid down by the IATF-EID and the Department of Health (DoH),” says Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr.

While easing down on the suspension, the applicant still needs to procure the needed documents which ranges from, but not limited to, Certificate of Timber Origin/Certificate of Lumber Origin (CTO/CLO) to ensure legitimacy of source. Also prior to the transport of the forest products, the applicant needs to comply with other documentary requirements such as copy of valid harvesting permit, approved Wood Processing Plant (WPP) Permit/Certificate of Registration as Lumber Dealer, approved Log Supply Contracts or its equivalent, among others. The same information shall also be forwarded by the concerned CENRO/Implementing PENRO to the DENR field office who has jurisdiction of the destination or to the Regional Office itself.

It should be noted that issuance of transport permits was suspended towards the end of March 2020 as an added protection against the spread of COVID-19 pursuant to Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”. As a consequence, it resulted to the stoppage of businesses and industries that were dependent on the buying and transportation of forest products and wildlife.

This suspension has resulted to loss of government revenue from collection of fees on forestry-related services here in Region 8 amounting to more than Php1 million from an average of Php1.2 million revenue for the month of April in the previous years which was down to Php590,555.23 for April 2020. This includes forest tenurial instruments/permits and other forest charges. Add to that the effect to seven (7) licensed lumber dealers in the region, their employees and other related businesses.

“It is our desire that the lifting of the suspension can help boost the economic recovery in the region after the economic lockdown and start getting back on our feet,” added RED Parian.