The corona virus pandemic has not stopped illegal logging activities. The Independent Forestry Monitoring Network (JPIK) has recorded that in the last six months there have been at least 15 new cases related to illegal logging throughout Indonesia.
The Independent Forestry Monitoring Network (JPIK) noted that 15 cases of forestry crime have occurred since the beginning of the year or since the outbreak of the corona pandemic until now. This includes thousands of cubic meters of timber illegally cut from forests across Indonesia. Most of the wood comes from protected forests, animal reserves, and national parks which are protected by law and are prohibited from using forest timber.
The Independent Forestry Monitoring Network (JPIK) Campaigner, Muhammad Ichwan, said that illegal logging was still rampant due to weak supervision by law enforcement officials due to restrictions on working time during the corona pandemic.
“Starting from the provinces of South Sumatra, Riau, Bengkulu, West Papua, South Kalimantan, Aru Islands, this pandemic has become an opportunity for actors, individuals, who practice illegal logging. Because of what, when this pandemic took place there was a kind of time reduction, meaning friends, for example friends at the Forestry Police (Forest Police), in Gakkum (Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry), the time was not like before the pandemic so that surveillance in the field was not optimal, ” Ichwan said.
The ongoing forest logging activity, said Ichwan, is also influenced by the absence of a deterrent effect from the perpetrators, in this case entrepreneurs who are supported by law enforcement officers.
“Our worried to this day is that the government or law enforcement agencies are not yet resolved, meaning they are ready to reveal the main actors behind it. So it is not only sharp downward, meaning that the small community is always used as the scapegoat, but parties, for example the people who back up (support), the party who finances the practice, the main actors, are still far from our expectations, “he added. Ichwan.
East Java, has become one of the destinations for sending illegal logs from illegal logging in forests outside Java, where legal enforcement is difficult. This, said Ichwan, cannot be separated from the weakness of Law Number 18 of 2013 concerning the Prevention and Eradication of Forest Destruction (P3H). This law is planned to be submitted for a review, so that there is legal certainty related to forestry crimes.
“We, along with friends at JPIK and in the coalition, are currently studying to conduct a Judicial Review (JR) related to the P3H Law because it weakens law enforcement in the forestry crime sector. The question of the time for the investigation is only 90 days, then when people or companies suspected of storing, processing or receiving illegal wood are not necessarily investigated when there is no legal certainty in the upstream area, “he said.
Meanwhile, Bruno Cammaert, FLEGT Program of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, in collaboration with the Independent Forest Monitoring Network (JPIK), appreciates the work of independent forestry monitors, which are an important element in monitoring and ensuring that regulations regarding timber legality in Indonesia can be achieved. stay awake.
“The independent forestry supervisor is an important element to ensure the legality of timber (SVLK) is well executed and accountable by the existing system. SVLK is important and fundamental in the partnership agreement between Indonesia and the European Union until 2030, “he said.
This article has been published in www.voaindonesia.com