TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Roy Cimatu said the agency is considering to train foresters in self-defense and equip them with guns when on field.
Cimatu made the statement after Palawan forester Joselito Eyala was attacked while on duty. It was later reported that Eyala survived awarded the “Medalya ng Bayani ng Kalikasan” award by Cimatu himself in August.
“Titignan natin. I-train natin sila at bigyan natin [sila] ng pansangga ng sarili [nila],” said Cimatu as he spoke before officials of DENR Cagayan Valley here on Saturday, September 9.
“Kawawa naman ang mga foresters natin. Wala man lang panlaban,” Secretary Cimatu added.
However, Cimatu asserted that foresters must only use their guns strictly for defense when they are on field in the mountains.
“Meron tayong kasunduan. Pang-defense [lang ito]. ‘Wag mong gagamitin sa kapitbahay mo kung galit ka,” Cimatau said.
“May restrictions yan. Ayaw kong may umabuso,” he added.
Cimatu also mentioned Cagayan forester Mark Ian Dela Cruz who was killed after being struck by lightning while performing his duties in Rizal, Cagayan.
While there can be no precaution to such an incident, the former Armed Forces Chief of Staff gave an order to CENRO and PENRO directors. “I [will] hold you responsible (directors). ‘Wag ninyong utusan ang mga tao n’yo na lumabas ‘pag masama na ang panahon,” he warned.
The former military general awarded posthumously the “Bayani ng Kalikasan Award” to Dela Cruz, a resident of Cabagan, Isabela in the region. Northernforum.net