From Timber Poacher to Forest Protection Officer: A Success Story

From Timber Poacher to Forest Protection Officer: A Success Story

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Tayabas City -- Rodolfo Masagnay recounts his life before and after becoming a deputized environment and natural resources officer during the 2nd quarterly meeting of the Regional Multi-sectoral Forest Protection Council on June 27, 2019.

          “Natuklasan po naming ang pinaka-the-best para mabawasan ang mga nag-iilegal ay ‘yung sa sarili natin. Gawin natin ang tama,” Rodolfo Masagnay, an ex-‘illegalist’, shared his story to the Regional Multi-sectoral Forest Protection Council (RMFPC) during its 2nd quarterly meeting on June 27, 2019 in Tayabas City.

          Masagnay recalled how he and his group turned their backs from their old ways of occasional timber poaching towards becoming an active partner of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in combatting illegal loggers and timber poachers in their areas.

          “Kami po, nasa mahigit 40 na miyembro ang tumutulong, nagtataguyod ng mga ganitong bagay (forest protection). Ang pinakamaganda pong nangyari sa aming samahan, sa tulong po ng ating CENRO (DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, Pagbilao, Quezon), sa mismong sarili namin ay naliwanagan kami na dapat hindi kami karagdagan sa mga ilegal na gumagawa,” he said.

          The former lawbreaker is now the vice president of the Association of Wood, Furniture and Timber Permittees organized by the DENR-CENRO, Pagbilao, Quezon.

Russel Paragas of Young Boy Multi-purpose Cooperative said the Timber Permittees Association has an advocacy to halt the illegal activities among its members and boost the furniture and lumber industry in the area.

         “Hindi po kami gumagalaw ng ilegal na bagay gaya ng sa forest. Tinutulungan namin ‘yung may mga problema sa wood cutting. Ginagawan naming ng paraan na sila ay sumunod sa tamang proseso ng transporting, permitting and cutting and other processing na involved ang DENR agency,” Paragas said.

          Masagnay and 50 more non-DENR personnel were recently deputized as environment and natural resources officers in their respective areas. Through such deputation, they were given the authority to apprehend the environmental violators as the DENR enforcement staff.

          “Nakakatuwa po na sa pagkukuwentuhan ng mga kasamahan namin ay napakadalang na ng nahuhuli at napakadalang na din ng gumagawa ng paglabag,” Masagnay said.

          RMFPC chairperson Gemi Formaran expressed his admiration for Masagnay and his group, saying “May mga magkakahoy na itinuturing nating kalaban, pero sila naman ang ating mga kaibigan”.

          The DENR-CENRO Pagbilao, with the assistance of Young Boy Multi-purpose Cooperative, awarded the Timber Permittees Association a 120-ha. Bamboo plantation along the riverbanks for the alternative livelihood of its members.

          Paragas said the CENRO has lined up a number of projects for the Association and the Cooperative.###

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