DENR-6 continues to protect forests amidst CoViD-19 threat

A river flows underneath the luscious green forest located at Brgy. Bawang, San Remigio, Antique. (DENR-6)

Summer has begun in the Philippines, a tropical country rich in unique forest ecosystem that serves as habitat of many endemic and indigenous flora and fauna.

Forests are vulnerable during this season and can cause serious and extensive damage if ravaged by fires.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 assured that our forests are protected amid the Corona Virus Disease (CoViD)-19 pandemic.

Forest protectors continue to monitor the forest areas but with limitations to secure their health and family during the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) implemented by their respective cities, municipalities and provinces.

The DENR employs a total of 235 Lawin Patrollers in the region composed of forest rangers, forest protection officers, forest technicians and park foreman. They patrol the forests and timberland including the fourteen (14) Protected Areas (PAs), five of which are legislated and eight are under initial component of Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas (ENIPAS).

In February 2020, the Strategic Planning Workshop on Environmental Protection and Enforcement was conducted in Iloilo City. The workshop was able to review, assess and set policy directions in the implementation and presentation of the proposed bill creating the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB). The bureau aims to effectively enforce environmental laws and protect its workers from vicious illegal loggers/cutters and other environmental criminals.

In Western Visayas, the Lawin Patrollers in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental are conducting patrol in their respective forest and timber lands.

They patrol by team in their assigned areas to help conserve the forests that greatly help in mitigating the effects of climate change. Depending on their areas and border restrictions being implemented by their respective local government units, the patrollers abide by the said CoViD-19 restrictions.

In Aklan, Patrollers watch over the forest areas to reduce forest loss and degradation caused by incidents of kaingin, illegal cutting, fuel wood gathering, charcoal making, and illegal dumping of wastes within the natural forests, mangrove forests and NGP areas.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Aklan conducts strict implementation of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR)-related laws, rules and regulations in their conservation area covering 46,650 hectares.


In Antique, Patrollers were assigned to maintain its close forest. Close forest helps prevent water supply shortage for irrigation and domestic use, as well as habitat to wildlife population preserving endangered wildlife species in the areas such as the Visayan spotted deer (Rusa alfredi), Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons), birds such as Visayan hornbill (Penelopides Panini), Negros bleeding-heart pigeon (Gallicolumba keayi).

In Capiz, Patrollers are conducting proper coordination with different LGUs, NGOs, POs, and other law enforcement agencies and forge agreements for the protection of conservation area and forestlands to minimize floods, landslides, mudslides, soil erosion and siltation of rivers and estuaries. They also preserve endangered species such as Dulungan or Walden’s hornbill (Aceros waldeni), and Banog or the Brahminy Kite Eagle.

Guimaras Patrollers were tasked to reduce occupants within the unclassified public lands including islands and islets in the province, protecting the established NGP plantations, improve the habitat of mangrove areas that serve as nursery grounds for fishes and marine life, and protect the important species such as Philippine megapode or known as Tabon bird (Megapodius cumingii), Philippine duck (Anas luzonica) and Philippine long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis philippensis).

In Iloilo, Patrollers aim to reduce kaingin, illegal cutting, hunting of fauna, collecting of flora species, maintain and enhance the forest cover serves as wildlife habitat of different species that help in carbon sequestration and provision of air and water quality, increase number of indigenous tree species within the natural forests, minimize land use conversion of open areas, protect and preserve the 31,970.7 hectares of the conservation area/timberland and mangrove areas to maintain water sources  such as rivers and creeks for irrigation supply.

Negros Occidental Patrollers help increase the recorded forest gain, ensure continuous recovery of Dipterocarp species such as Almon, Apitong, Bagtikan, Tanguile and other high premium trees population as well as other important faunal species thriving in the area and maintain or increase the closed canopy forests within Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) and Mount Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP).

“The rising temperature during summer season could ignite fires in forest areas but here in Western Visayas, we are blessed with our courageous Lawin Patrollers that monitors our forest amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also our unsung heroes that help in mitigating the effects of climate change that greatly benefit the present and future generation,” DENR-6 regional executive director Francisco E. Milla Jr. said.