In a bid to curb the growing incidences on timber poaching and illegal forest activities in the region, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) have forged a Memorandum of Agreement to strengthen the campaign against the said activities.

Acknowledging the role of NICA as the primary intelligence gathering and analysis arm of the government that is well-equipped in carrying out overt, covert and clandestine intelligence programs, the DENR tapped NICA’s expertise to readily resolve the challenges of timber poaching and illegal forest activities especially in the region’s Protected Areas.

“Our interest therefore converge in information-sharing. Signing a MOA between both agencies will lead to a more systematic sharing of information and technology. Further, this MOA will strengthen the feedback mechanism between our agencies to enhance our cooperation and collaboration,” said Regional Director Anna Liza P. Umar of NICA.

DENR 6  will be furnishing NICA 6 with reports from the ground based on the spot reports/incident reports submitted by the Lawin Patrollers as their reference in the conduct of intelligence monitoring.

On the part of DENR 6, Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran acknowledged the limited resources and manpower of the Department to really track down illegal activities in the region’s forestlands.

“Our Lawin System allows us to see and check the threats within our forestlands. They are listed and uploaded in the tracking system. We wanted to fasttrack our response to the illegal activities that require us to enforce the law. But somehow, we are handicapped,” Director Duran said. He, however, expressed confidence that with the help from NICA and the Philippine Army, the issues on illegal forestland activities will be readily resolved.

Western Visayas have beautiful protected areas that has become an attraction to those who commit illegal activities, such as timber poaching and illegal cutting. Through its collaboration with NICA, the DENR 6 aims to expand its protection activities and enforcement of not only forestry laws but will include other environmental laws.