soldiers for Bantay Gubat
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has deputized 3rd Infantry Division soldiers as “Bantay Gubats” in Negros and Panay islands after the Regional Task Force on Anti-Illegal Logging was formed yesterday.
This followed the signing of a memorandum yesterday between DENR and Department of Interior and Local Government, with policemen and Army soldiers in Western Visayas to form an enforcement unit, at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City regional military spokesman Major John Andrada said.
Under the MOA, Andrada said, the 3ID will provide support and security for the anti-illegal logging operations of RTF personnel in the Negros and Panay hinterlands.
He said that the 3ID soldiers also have been given police powers to apprehend suspects, caught in the act for timber poaching activities.
About 5,000 soldiers are being supervised by the 3ID in Negros and Panay islands.
“This will not burden us because, ever since, we have been supporting the government’s efforts to preserve the environment,” Andrada said.
He added that Army soldiers may also be mobilized for surveillance operations on reported timber poaching activities, while conducting usual combat patrols in the countryside.
Even before the RTF was formed, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office had been actively involved the forest protection program of the provincial government, through its Task Force Ilahas.
Andrada said the 3ID will also incorporate operations of its field units the monitoring of illegally-transported forest products and other natural resources, such as mineral ores and wildlife, among others.
Whenever necessary, he added, they will also create Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit in critical areas as may be determined or recommended.
RTF reported to complement the national anti-illegal logging task force, formed earlier as part of the government’s intensified campaign to protect the country’s dwindling forest cover.*GPB
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mission all set
Volunteer doctors will conduct a medical and dental mission in Purok Abkasa, Brgy. Mandalagan, Bacolod, on Saturday, a press release from the office of Bacolod Councilor Carl Lopez said.
The program sponsored by Lopez aims to help 300 residents undergo circumcision, acupressure therapy, dental extraction and eye check-up, it said.
Residents will also be given free haircuts by volunteer hairstylists.
Earlier, a 4-day dental care campaign in four barangays sponsored by Lopez was also held.
Volunteer dentists were Dr. Frances Jan Cadagat, Dr. Orville Paez and Dr. Ramar Natu-il, lectured children aged 5 to 7 years old on proper dental care.
Toothbrushes and toothpastes were given to the young ones, the press release added.*
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