BELIEVE IT OR NOT: Former Illegal Loggers Have Become Protectors Of The Forest!

Daniel Anjan, former Bantay Gubat pointman, convinced the illegal loggers to give up their illegal activities. Wife Margie is with him.

Barangay Bacungan is a remote place, 28 kilometers away from the center of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.It was a place notorious for massive illegal logging not just for the lumber but also for making charcoal. The men with chainsaw could cut down 6o big trees in one day while the men and women without chainsaw could cut down 30 smaller trees. 

You could imagine how many trees 286 illegal loggers in Bacungan could cut in one day. Although there’s a Bantay Gubat detailed by the DENR, he could not cope with the situation. The illegal loggers played the hide-and-seek game with him.

The happy turnaround happened when a big diversified  organic farm was established in Bacungan in 2017. This is the Yamang Bukid Farm, a subsidiary of a highly profitable company that produces Healthy Food Products that are sold in 400 stores all over the country, many of them in malls.

 

Ronnel Espino was a chainsaw owner who accidentally hurt his belly with his chainsaw. Now he is a well-paid and well-fed employee of Yamang Bukid farm.

The founder of Yamang Bukid Farm employed the the former Bantay Gubat pointman and presently Kagawad in Bacungan as general manager of the farm. A bright strategy was conceived. Yamang Bukid Farm will employ the 286 illegal loggers and train them to become dignified farmers. Inculcated in the training is the importance of maintaining forests, biodiversity and sustainable farming practices. And that’s what the company did.

Today Yamang Bukid Farm employs 286 men and women of Bacungan who were all illegally cutting trees mostly for making charcoal before. They are well paid because they are paid P320 a day compared to P275 minimum daily wage mandated by law in Palawan. They are also well-fed because they get free lunch and snacks. Children of employees are  given an allowance of  P20 each every time they go to school.

Daniel Anjan, 43, was instrumental in convincing the illegal loggers to give up their illegal cutting of trees.  The first priority in hiring were the chainsaw owners. Some of them were reluctant in the beginning because they were not sure if the Yamang Bukid Farm can sustain the higher wages and other perks. But it did not take long for them to be convinced that the farm can well sustain their employment.

Among the beneficiaries of Yamang  Bukid Farm are Daniel Anjan and his wife Margie. As farm manager of YBF, Anjan receives a six-figure monthly pay while his wife also gets a good compensation as head of the Kakanin House that prepares native delicacies for the two restaurants of the farm or for bringing home as “pasalubong.”

It is hard to believe but today, there is no illegal logging in Bacungan because the illegal loggers have now become the protectors of the forest.

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