DENR farms out issuance of tree-cutting permits to regional offices


THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) transferred the authority to its regional offices to issue permits for tree-cutting and relocation.

The relocation process is known as earth-balling, in which whole trees are dug up from their roots.

In a statement over the weekend, the DENR said Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu issued Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2021-11 on May 19 which transferred permit authority to the 16 regional executive directors.

Previously, the DENR undersecretary for Field Operations had the authority to issue the permits for tree cutting and earth balling for areas and activities exempted from Executive Order (EO) 23. EO 23 bans the cutting and harvesting of timber from natural and residual forests.

Mr. Cimatu said the order seeks to streamline the process for naturally-grown trees on private land, and on public land covered by tenure agreements such as Forest Land Use Agreements, Forest Land Use Agreements for Tourism purposes, Special Land Use Permits, and Mineral Production and Sharing Agreements with an approved Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program.

“We have simplified the process of applying for cutting permits and made it more accessible to private landowners and holders of DENR-issued land tenurial instruments where there are naturally-growing trees that may not need to be cut but only trimmed,” Mr. Cimatu said.

According to Mr. Cimatu, the order ensures that no natural growing trees, or trees that are grown in a specific area not planted by its owner or occupant, are neglected or unnecessarily cut down.

Environment Assistant Secretary Marcial C. Amaro, Jr. said the order will improve the Forest Management Bureau’s processing of forestry-related permits.

“Other similar orders have already been issued such as the decentralization in the issuance of permits for wood processing plants and importation of wood through DAO No. 2021-05 and DAO 2021-06, respectively, which seek to augment local sources of wood and enable wood-based industries like the furniture-making and trading sectors to generate employment and income,” Mr. Amaro said.

According to DAO 2011-11, an applicant must obtain a certification of no objection (CNO) to the tree cutting activities from the barangay captain whether for private or public land.

The CNO must be issued by the mayor and barangay captains if the trees to be affected stand on more than one barangay. It needs to be obtained from the provincial governor or all mayors involved if the trees to be cut stand on more than one town or city.

DAO 2011-11 also requires CNOs to be issued by the resident agrarian reform officer if the affected trees are in areas covered by a certificate of land ownership award. —

Revin Mikhael D. Ochave