BY JUN TAGABUNLANG
BUTUAN CITY — The total log ban imposed by government is a boon to nature but is badly hurting the pockets of Caraga Region’s biggest wood processing plant.
Richmond Plywood Corporation said it plans to temporarily shut down or eventually close its operations due to the log ban.
Richmond in a letter requested concerned government agencies to reconsider the implementation of Executive Order 23 which declared moratorium in logging or total log ban of forest trees from residual forests.
Richmond manager Lando Lim said letters were sent to Department of Labor and Employment ((DOLE-Caraga) regional office, Social Security System (SSS), Bureau of Internal Revenue(BIR), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Phil Health.
The company employs nearly 1,000 workers and its closure could indirectly affect some 4,000 persons from Butuan City and nearby towns and provinces.
Butuan City Councilor Ryan Anthony Culima who is Chairman of the City Council Committee on Trade and Industry and Chairman of the Peace and Order committee admitted that it is not only Richmond that closed shop but also other smaller wood processing plants and sawmills.
Lim said following the implementation of the new order, their supply of raw materials from small tree farmers significantly reduced.
Lim said another memorandum which the DENR has issued on June 22, 2012 for small-scale tree farmers on planted species added difficulty to their suppliers.
Under the June memorandum, local small tree farmers should seek permits from the DENR central offices based in Metro Manila. The memorandum has suspended the authority of the DENR regional offices to issue cutting permits.
“Unlike before were cutting permits can be issued at the DENR regional office, now the tree farmers have to go to Manila which is costly. It has affected much to our operations” Lim in his letter said.
“At present there are about 5,000 to 6,000 workers displaced by the slowdown of wood industry in Butuan City alone,” Culima said.