Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Mt. Mantalingahan’s eye in the sky
by: Michael John Cantuba


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The Conservation International (CI) (a Non-Government Organization) one of the members of Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL) – Protected Area Management Board introduced the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), a miniature aircraft made from light materials and is capable of flying 800 meters in altitude and 15 kilometers away from its home coordinates. It is equipped with audio and visual recorder, transmitter and GPS receiver, hence the UAV can be controlled (e.g. flown by a pilot at a ground control station) or can be flown autonomously base on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems.

With the introduction of this UAV, the DENR and CI conducted an initial training on mission planning and simulator flying of UAV in 2015 then a follow through training at Maruyog Ridge Convention Center, Brooke’s Point, Palawan last March 1 to 6, 2016. Two trainees from CENRO Quezon, Michael John D. Cantuba and Arnold Peter Aurino, and four employees from CENRO Brooke’s Point, Herman A. Paraiso, Jimbo D. Lopez, Arman Quitano, Menelaus Rey Duller, and John Mark Bacan, participated in the learning event. The training was headed by the Program Director of CI, Ms. Jeanne Tabangay, together with MMPL PASu, Pablo L. Cruz, and Forester III Franklin Aquino of CENRO Brooke’s Point. The resource persons were Tim Sabino and Nicko L. Lasaca of Sky Eye. With the five-day training, the participants learned the vital procedures of mission planning including the input of coordinates and altitudes as waypoints for the plane’s route. Participants learned how to fly the UAV manually via RC or Remote control, but they still need further practice on simulator. Also, they learned how to set up the visual recorder, an antenna for transmitting of signal.

Also known as drone, the UAV is a very promising technology especially in the field of Environmental Protection. It can enter areas that man might find harsh or impenetrable. Surveillance, area patrolling, and monitoring would be much easier, accurate, and instant. With further improvement/development, the technology will surely be of great service to forest protection activities.


DENR slaps criminal charge against Ipilan Nickel Corporation


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July 14, 2017. Puerto Princesa City. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through Brooke’s Point Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Conrado Corpuz, files today at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor a criminal charge against Ipilan Nickel Corporation for violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines.

The case filed by DENR involves a 1.7 hectare area out of the total 24-hectare forest cleared by Ipilan Nickel Corporation in Barangay Maasin, Brooke’s Point which DENR argues to be undoubtedly outside the company’s tree cutting permit.

DENR issued INC a special tree cutting permit in May 2016 as part of its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA). However, former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez cancelled INC’s environmental compliance certificate (ECC) on December 16, 2016, rendering its tree cutting permit invalid. INC argues its tree cutting permit remains valid.

“Granting without admitting that INC’s tree cutting permit was valid, DENR has a strong case against the company on the 1.7-hectare cleared area,” asserts DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino.

“This is just the first in a series of cases against INC,” says Corpuz. He said that DENR will also file other charges against INC upon completion of the inventory of the trees cut in the remaining 22.3 hectares. The onset of the rainy season and the huge number of felled trees has slowed down the retrieval and inventory of trees.

DENR is also investigating another violation – the construction of a mine yard road without clearance from DENR. Apart from this, Brooke’s Point Mayor Jean Feliciano is also batting to revoke the SEP (Strategic Environmental Plan) clearance issued by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development to INC.

“INC is criminally liable and Secretary Roy Cimatu wants to ensure that irresponsible miners do not get around the law,” says Palawan Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Felizardo B. Cayatoc referring to the Secretary’s instruction to not let INC off the hook.Further, President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced on July 12, 2017 that mining companies must make up for the destructive impact of their operations on the livelihood of farmers and fishpond owners.

“With the string of cases facing INC, there is little chance it will be allowed to continue its mining operations,” adds Bernardino.

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