The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has taken steps to ensure the availability of wood materials needed for the construction of COVID-19 facilities and to transport food products across the country even as it ordered a nationwide suspension on the transport of forest products and wildlife species.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has exempted wood pallets, boxes and crates from the suspension citing that “transport of wood pallets, boxes and crates is not subject to any transport permit or document from the DENR.”

“Considering that these wood-based forest products are used for the transport of food products that are basic requirements during this time of crisis, movement of these should not be restricted,” Cimatu said.

Pursuant to Section 10.2 of DENR Administrative Order No. 1994-07 or the Revised Guidelines Governing the Issuance of Certificate of Origin of Logs, Lumber and Non-Timber Forest Products, a delivery receipt or sales invoice, and tally sheet will suffice for the transport of these products.

Under the memorandum, the exempted wood products are to be sourced only from legitimate wood processing plants that operate with valid permits and are registered to produce semi-finished or finished wood pallets, boxes or crates consistent with their respective DENR-approved current log supply inventory. Forthcoming raw materials may also be used provided these have been issued the necessary permits/transport documents prior to March 26, 2020.

Falcata (Falcataria moluccana) is the most commonly used tree species for making pallets, boxes and crates. It is a fast-growing “softwood” tree which can be harvested in just five years from planting.

In a separate memorandum dated March 26, Cimatu issued a nationwide suspension on the acceptance, processing and issuance of all transport-related permits or documents for all forest products and wildlife, except for permit to transport confiscated lumber that will be used for the construction/expansion of COVID-19 facilities.

These confiscated lumber include white and red lauaan, apitong, bagtikan, toog, molave, mangkono (iron wood), narra, yakal, and kamagong.

All confiscated lumber for transport should have an approved Deed of Donation duly signed by the concerned Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) as donors, and by the recipient institution. It should also have a Transport Permit in the form of a certification attesting and consistent with specifics cited in the accompanying "Deed of Donation.

In addition, a Tally Sheet duly signed by the office of the concerned CENRO as scaler is required. The tally sheet should cite the dimension of the donated wood, name(s) of wood species, number of pieces, and volume in board feet or cubic meters.

“The DENR supports the continuing and earnest work of the government to limit the movement of people and non-priority products at this time, and prevent the further spread of the virus,” said Cimatu.

The environment chief said the initiative is pursuant to Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on March 24. Section 3 of the Act states “there is a need to mitigate if not contain the transmission of COVID-19, among others.” ###