A Tribute to the Late ‘Queen’ of Anti-illegal Logging Operations


 A Tribute to the Late ‘Queen’ of Anti-illegal Logging Operations


            Strong-willed and fearless. These are two words which could best describe the ‘small but terrible’ Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Real, Quezon, Miliarete “Milet” Buisan-Panaligan, who sadly passed away on August 27, 2018 due to health complication.

The sole woman CENRO in CALABARZON became well-known for her brave and tireless fight against the ‘illegalists’ in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, particularly, the Real-Infanta-General Nakar (REINA) area, and the Polillo Group of Islands (POGI), both illegal logging ‘hotspots’.

         The passionate Batangueña has undeniably left a significant mark not only on her co-employees, but also on the communities and institutions she has closely worked with in her 32 years of service at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).



 Panaligan started working as a casual Forester at the DENR Region 4 in 1986. In 2010, she became Officer-In-Charge, CENRO, Real, Quezon and, in 2015, she assumed as the full-fledged head of the DENR field office.

 From then on, CENRO Milet prioritized fierce enforcement against illegal loggers. She had led several operation plans (OPLAN) in Sierra Madre, MAREINAUA (Mauban, Real, Infanta, General Nakar, Umiray, Aurora) and POGI from 2011-2014. She also initiated the Brigada Sierra from 2015-2016 with the tagline “Mamamayan, Kasama Ka”, encouraging ordinary people to report perceived illegal forest activities through text message.

 Due to her perseverance to eradicate environmental crimes, she got a number of death threats. But, she would always say she is not afraid as she has put her fate into the hands of God.

 In 2012, she received a Gawad Muyong Award from then Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje and then Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Glorioso V. Miranda, as champion in anti-illegal logging operation in REINA-POGI. In 2014, she received an Outstanding Public Service Award from the University of the Philippines Los Baños - College of Forestry and Natural Resources Alumni Association. Even in her earlier years in service, she was given several awards in recognition of her excellence and dedication.

 The bold but outgoing lady leader used her expertise in community organizing in carrying out her mandate to protect and conserve the natural resources within her jurisdiction. She had a pure heart for public service, committed to building rapport with the locals especially the Indigenous Peoples, and making genuine forest protection partners out of them.

 “Siya ay huwarang empleyado at sana marami pang katulad niya’ng DENR ang humalili sa kanya, hangga’t maaari, lalo na sa pagmamahal niya sa Sierra Madre. Talagang halos ibinuwis niya ang kaniyang buhay dahil lang sa pagmamahal sa kalikasan… Para sa akin, ang katumbas niya ay bayaning tunay na naglilingkod nang (may) katapatan,” the IP Governor of Quezon, Thelma Aumentado, said in honour of the beloved CENRO who passed on a National Heroes’ Day. ###

CENRO Milet 1

CENRO Milet in action. DENR Real, Quezon chief Miliarete B. Panaligan (wearing purple shirt) leads the confiscation of lumber flitches abandoned along a coastline in General Nakar, Quezon on July 27, 2016.

CENRO Milet 2






Scientists Support the Closed Season for Tawilis from March to April

Dr. Francis Magbanua, President of the Philippine Society for Freshwater Science (PSFS) stated their support regarding the declaration of the Tawilis as an endangered species and supports the ordinance issued by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) to implement the closed season of Taal Lake during March to April, including the implementation of a proper mesh size and establishment of sanctuaries.
Dr. Magbanua also emphasized the need for enforcement in the area. He reminded that not only it is a job for the DENR and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), but also for the Local Government Units and other stakeholders. He also called for the need for continuous monitoring of the Tawilis and the lake to see if the implementation is successful.
During the Tawilis Summit held on February 19, with the theme: “4TS: Talakayan Tungkol sa Tawilis at Taal”, the stakeholders of Taal Volcano Protected Landscape gathered at the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. The whole day event targeted to inform the public about the rationale and other related researches about the Sardinella Tawilis and Taal Lake. The summit provided the venue for stakeholders to discuss the current status and future management prescriptions to conserve the Tawilis population. Tawilis is the only freshwater sardine and can only be found in Taal Lake. According to a study of Reproductive Biology of the Tawilis done by Associate Professor Alicia Pagulayan, “Sardinella Tawilis breeds the whole year round with peak spawning activities from December to March and a less pronounced spawning during the months of July to October”.

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