Elite army forces guards Bulacan mountains from illegal loggers

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DONA REMEDIOS TRINIDAD (DRT), Bulacan–Elite Philippine Army (PA) troops First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) will now guard Bulacan’s portion of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges against illegal loggers after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) region 3 office tapped them to further boost the protection and development of the remaining forests area of the province. 

Paquito Moreno, Jr., executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon and Lt. Gen. Jose C.  Faustino Jr., Commanding General of the PA recently forged a partnership for the protection of the Sierra Madre portions in Bulacan.
Under their signed memorandum of agreement, the DENR will identify a 14-hectare land in Barangay Kalawakan in this mountainous town where the FSRR troops can build its jungle-based and training detachment (JBTD).
Illegal logging activities are rampant in Barangay Kalawakan particularly in Sitios Kambubuyugan and Maugat. Illegally cut logs are being hauled off the forests by allowing them to run through Gapang River. 
The partnership will help prevent the actual cutting of trees in the forest instead of the traditional approach of apprehending suspected illegal loggers while transporting forest contrabands.

Moreno said tapping the FSRR is in line with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu’s order to them to prevent the cutting of trees to ensure the survival of the forest.
“The support of the Philippine Army is a big boost in our anti-illegal logging campaign. They have been our steady and reliable partner in the enforcement of forestry laws. And this time they will also assist us in the protection and maintenance of established NGP plantations,” Moreno said. 
The Sierra Madre mountain ranges, situated near the Pacific Ocean serves as a major typhoon barrier for thousands of people living in North, Central and Southern Luzon areas. Likewise, Sierra Madre hosts the Angat Dam Watershed Area where Angat Dam which supplies Metro Manila with 97% of its water requirement is situated. 
Moreno said in particular, the FSRR will aid the DENR in its campaign against anti-illegal logging including the development of an area under the National Greening Program (NGP).

DENR Region 3 director Paquito Moreno Jr. and Lt. Gen. Jose C.  Faustino Jr., Commanding General of the Philippine Army (PA) and other officials during the MOA signing to guard Bulacan’s forest against rampant illegal logging activities. Photo by DENR Region 3 office.

The DENR will also provide the FSRR the necessary training in the implementation of NGP including seedling production and plantation protection and maintenance.
Faustino vowed to strengthen the forest protection efforts and further develop the NGP plantations in the province.

“The agreement will further strengthen the alliance between the DENR and FSRR to foster environmental protection and end once and for all the illegal logging here in Bulacan,” he added. 
Moreno expressed his gratitude to the PA for their support in the government’s forest protection and greening program.  Meanwhile, the DENR has also awarded a special patent covering some 49 hectares to the Camp Tecson of the PA as part of the “Handog Titulo” program of the government and under the DENR administrative order (DAO) No. 2016-21 also known as the guidelines governing the processing of the request for proclamation and issuance of Special patents over agricultural lands. 
The FSRR is based in Camp Tecson in Barangay Tartaro, San Miguel town.
FSRR is known as the elite force of the PA being the training ground of special forces, officers soldiers being deployed to war and conflict-thorn areas in the country particularly in Mindanao. 
FSRR established in 1950 is an anti-guerilla, jungle warfare, raiding operations, unconventional warfare, counter terrorism including hostage rescue operations.

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