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QUISMORIO, MARIA CANDICE MAUDIE S.

2-F (Judge Alberto Serrano - Environmental Law - Other Laws)


Republic Act No. 8048
The Coconut Preservation Act of 1995
Overview
Republic Act No. 8048 also known as the "Coconut Preservation Act of
1995" prohibits the cutting of coconut trees except in any of the cases specified
in the text and only after the issuance of a permit by the Philippine Coconut
Authority (PCA). The Act also recognizes the power of the PCA to collect
application fees to be used for the replanting of coconuts program, to regulate
and oversee the planting, fertilization and care of the newly planted coconut
trees as well as to prescribe rules and regulations for the immediate and
effective implementation of the Act. Republic Act No. 10593, amends certain
sections of Republic Act No. 8048 these certain sections, in particular: SEC. 4
on Specific Prohibition; SEC. 5 on Permit to Cut; SEC. 7 on Police Powers;
SEC. 8 regarding Implementing Rules; SEC. 9 on Penalties.
The Act also recognizes the power of the Philippine Coconut Authority to
collect application fees to be used for the replanting of coconuts program, to
regulate and oversee the planting, fertilization and care of the newly planted
coconut trees, and to prescribe rules and regulations for the immediate and
effective implementation of the Act.

Introduction
A course of action to control the cutting of coconut trees in the Philippines at
present is implemented to guarantee a sustainable resource foundation for the
coconut industry. Nevertheless, indiscriminate and illegal cutting of coconut
trees has persisted. This has elevated stern alarm not only on the economic
viability of the industry but also on potential undesirable impact on the
environment in view of the fact that numerous coconut farms are in the sloping
and mountainous parts. In accordance to Medina (2005), cutting of coconut
trees without replanting subjects the soils to adverse weather conditions and
makes them susceptible to erosion. In extreme cases, soil erosion in high and
sloping areas causes landslides and flash floods.
Coconut tree refers to a tall pinnate-leaved palm bearing a large edible fruit
called the coconut (Sec. 3(a), RA 8048). The approximate calculation, taking
into account the economic and ecological role of coconut, the net environmental
profit of coconut logging without replanting over a 10-year period is totalling of
a negative PhP416,722 per hectare. Cutting of coconut trees in the Philippines
is generally prohibited, and allowed only under certain conditions, after
payment of mandatory fees and planting of replenishment seedlings, in which
case a permit-to-cut (PTC) is issued by the authorized government agency.
Enabling Laws and Policy Guidelines
The governments aim is to preserve a sustainable coconut resource
foundation in order to ensure enough supply of raw materials and products for
the coconut industry. This is supported by four (4) enabling laws.

The first is Republic Act No. 8048 or the Coconut Preservation Act of 1995
and its Implementing Rules and Regulations stated in PCA Administrative
Order 02 Series of 2005. The policy presents for the regulation of the cutting of
coconut trees with the growth of the national industry by instilling on a
sustainable and efficient replanting program.
The second is Executive Order (EO) 213 of 2000 composing the National
Enforcement Task Force or NETFORCE on Coconut Tree Conservation whose
main function is to formulate and execute action plans to control the widespread
cutting of coconut trees. It supports RA 8048 by ensuring an effective and
timely coordination among the concerned agencies, local government units
(LGUs) and private sector in executing its provisions.
The third is Executive Order (EO) 015 Series of 2007 of the Office of
Quezon Provincial Governor which reconstituted the Quezon Coconut Industry
Development Council. It is a provincial ordinance indicating the creation of a
Task Force that would monitor the illegal cutting of coconut trees in accordance
to RA 8048.
The fourth is Memorandum Circular (MC) 02 Series of 2008 or the
Moratorium on the Issuance of Permit to Cut Coconut Trees. It is a national
directive from PCA stating that all issuances of permit to cut coconut trees and
the corresponding transport/transshipment clearances are suspended nationwide
not including a limited exception and under certain circumstances.

Philippine Coconut Authority


The lead agency in charge in implementing the provisions of RA 8048 that is
of formulating a general program for the development of coconut and palm oil
industry. It has the power to issue subpoenas and summon witnesses or require
the production of documents in any investigation conducted pursuant to its
powers and may impose for contempt. Moreover, exclusive authority to grant
permits for the cutting of coconut trees and may at its discretion delegate the
power to issue permit to the city or municipal mayors. PCAs following
functions;

Formulate and promote a strategic and comprehensive development


program for the coconut and other palm oil industry in all its aspects;
Implement and sustain a nationwide coconut planting and replanting,
fertilization and rehabilitation, and other farm productivity programs;
Conduct research and extension works on farm productivity and process
development for product quality and diversification;
Establish quality standards for coconut and palm products and by- products;
and, develop and expand the domestic and foreign markets;
Enhance the capacities and ensure the socio-economic welfare of coconut
and palm farmers and farm workers.

Amendments
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10593
AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO.
8048, ENTITLED "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE REGULATION OF
THE CUTTING OF COCONUT TREES, ITS REPLENISHMENT,
PROVIDING PENALTIES THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES"
Sec. 4. Prohibition.
RA8048
No coconut tree shall be cut except in the
following cases and only after a permit had been
issued therefor:

As amended by RA10593
"SEC. 4. Prohibition. No coconut tree shall be cut
except in the following cases and only after a

(a) When the tree is sixty (60) years old;

permit had been issued therefor:

(b) When the tree is no longer economically


productive;

"(a) When the tree is sixty (60) years old in the


case of tall varieties, and at least forty (40) years
old for dwarf varieties;

(c) When the tree is disease-infested;


(d) When the tree is damaged by typhoon or
lightning;
(e) When the agricultural land devoted to coconut
production shall have been converted in
accordance with law into residential, commercial
or industrial areas;
(f) When the land devoted to coconut production
shall be converted into other agricultural uses or
other agriculture-related activities in pursuance to
a conversion duly applied for by the owner and
approved by the proper authorities: Provided, That
no conversion shall be allowed by the PCA until
after it shall have been verified and certified that
for a period of at least three (3) years the majority
of the coconut trees have become senescent and
economically unproductive or where the coconut
farm is not adaptable to sound management
practices on account of geographical location,
topography, drainage and other conditions
rendering the farm economically unproductive;
and
(g) When the tree would cause hazard to life and
property.

No other causes other than those abovementioned


shall be considered as a valid ground for cutting.

"(b) When the tree is no longer economically


productive;
"(c) When the tree is severely disease-infested and
beyond rehabilitation;
"(d) When the tree is severely damaged by
typhoon or lightning;
"(e) When the agricultural land devoted to coconut
production shall have been converted in
accordance with law into residential, commercial
or industrial areas;
"(f) When the land devoted to coconut production
shall be converted into other agricultural uses or
other agriculture-related activities in pursuance to
a conversion duly applied for by the owner and
approved by the proper authorities: Provided, That
no conversion shall be allowed by the PCA until
after it shall have been verified and certified that
for a period of at least three (3) years the majority
of the coconut trees have become senescent and
economically unproductive or where the coconut
farm is not adaptable to sound management
practices on account of geographical location,
topography, drainage and other conditions
rendering the farm economically unproductive;
and
"(g) When the tree would cause hazard to life and
property.
"No other causes other than those abovementioned
shall be considered as a valid ground for cutting."

Sec. 5. Permit to cut.


As amended by RA10593
RA8048
No coconut tree or trees shall be cut unless a
permit therefore, upon due application being
made, has been issued by the PCA pursuant to
Section 6 of this Act.
The applicant shall pay an application fee in the
amount of Twenty-five pesos (P25.00) for every
tree intended to be cut payable to the PCA. Ten

Section 5 of Republic Act No. 8048 is hereby


amended to read as follows:
"SEC. 5. Permit to Cut. No coconut tree or trees
shall be cut unless a permit therefore, upon due
application being made, has been issued by the
PCA pursuant to Section 6 of this Act.

pesos (P10.00) of the fee shall accrue in favor of


the PCA, Ten pesos (P10.00) in favor of the
municipal government concerned, and Five pesos
(P5.00) in favor of the barangay unit
concerned. The fees shall be used for the PCA's
replanting program and for the repair and
rehabilitation of roads of the respective local
government units which have been damaged by
the passage of heavy vehicles used for
transporting coconut lumber.
No permit to cut shall be granted unless the
applicant, in coordination with the PCA and the
local government unit concerned, has already
planted the equivalent number of coconut trees
applied for to be cut.
Such replanting, however, shall not apply to areas
converted into industrial, commercial or
residential sites or land transformed in accordance
with law, into other agricultural purposes.
The PCA, in coordination with the local
government unit concerned, shall regulate and
oversee the planting, fertilization and care of the
newly planted coconut trees. For this purpose, it
shall be incumbent upon the PCA to conduct, from
time to time, on-the-spot inspections of the sites
where the coconut trees have been planted.

"The applicant shall pay an application fee in the


amount of One hundred pesos (P100.00) for every
tree intended to be cut payable to the PCA. Forty
pesos (P40.00) of the fee shall accrue in favor of
the PCA, Forty pesos (P40.00) in favor of the
municipal government concerned, and Twenty
pesos (P20.00) in favor of the barangay unit
concerned. The fees allocated to the PCA shall be
used for its replanting program and the fees
allocated to the municipal/city government shall
be used for the repair and rehabilitation of roads
of the respective local government units which
have been damaged by the continuous passage of
heavy vehicles used for transporting coconut
lumber.
"Fees herein collected shall be deposited with the
nearest Land Bank of the Philippines branch or
other government depository banks. Fees accruing
to the local government unit shall be remitted
within three (3) months in accordance with
existing Commission on Audit (COA) rules and
regulations.
"No permit to cut shall be granted unless the
applicant has secured from the barangay captain
of the locality where the cutting will be done, a
certification under oath that he/she has already
planted the equivalent number of coconut trees
applied for to be cut.
"Such replanting, however, shall not apply to
areas converted into industrial, commercial or
residential sites or land transformed in accordance
with law, into other agricultural purposes.
"The PCA, in coordination with the local
government unit concerned, shall verify if a
replanting was implemented and regulate and
oversee the fertilization and care of the newly
planted coconut trees. For this purpose, it shall be
incumbent upon the PCA to conduct, from time to
time, on-the-spot inspections of the sites where
the coconut trees have been planted."

Sec. 7. Implementing Rules.


As amended by RA10593
RA8048
The Philippine Coconut Authority shall be the
lead agency to implement the provisions of this
Act. For this purpose, the Philippine Coconut

Section 7 of Republic Act No. 8048, hereby


renumbered as Section 8, is hereby amended to
read as follows:

Authority shall prescribe the necessary rules and


regulations for the immediate and effective
implementation of this Act.
The PCA, in order to effectively implement the
provisions of this Act, may request the assistance
of any local government unit, to monitor and
ensure compliance with this Act including its
implementing rules and regulations. For this
purpose, the PCA may deputize the Philippine
National Police or other law enforcement agencies
to investigate and apprehend those caught
violating the provisions of this Act, including the
confiscation of illegally cut trees.

In addition to the foregoing, the PCA shall also, in


coordination with the local government unit
concerned, require the registration of all sawmills,
lumberyards, coconut wood dealers and other
persons or entities dealing in the processing,
sawing of the coconut trees.

"SEC. 8. Implementing Rules. The Philippine


Coconut Authority shall be the lead agency to
implement the provisions of this Act. For this
purpose, the Philippine Coconut Authority shall
prescribe the necessary rules and regulations for
the immediate and effective implementation of
this Act.
"The PCA, in order to effectively implement the
provisions of this Act, may request the assistance
of any local government unit, to monitor and
ensure compliance with this Act including its
implementing rules and regulations. For this
purpose, the PCA may deputize the Philippine
National Police or other law enforcement agencies
to investigate and apprehend those caught
violating the provisions of this Act, including the
confiscation of illegally cut coconut trees. In order
to prevent wastage, the PCA shall order the
immediate disposition of confiscated coconut
lumber in a manner to be determined by the PCA.
"In addition to the foregoing, the PCA shall also,
in coordination, with the local government unit
concerned, require the registration of all sawmills,
lumberyards, coconut wood dealers and other
persons or entities dealing in the processing and
sawing of coconut trees."

Sec. 8. Penalties.
As amended by RA10593
RA8048
Those found guilty of violating this Act or any
rules and regulations issued pursuant hereto shall,
upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment of
not less than one (1) year but not more than six (6)
years, or a fine of not less than Fifty thousand
pesos (P50,000) but not more than Five hundred
thousand pesos (P500,000), or both in the
discretion of the court.
If the offender is a corporation or a juridical entity,
the official who ordered or allowed the
commission of the offense shall be punished with
the same penalty.
If the offender is in the government service, he
shall, in addition be dismissed from office.

Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8048, hereby


renumbered as Section 9, is hereby amended to
read as follows:
"SEC. 9. Penalties. Those found guilty of
violating this Act or any rules and regulations
issued pursuant hereto shall, upon conviction, be
punished by imprisonment of not less than two (2)
years but not more than six (6) years, or a fine of
not less than One hundred thousand pesos
(P100,000.00) but not more than Five hundred
thousand pesos (P500,000.00), or both, at the
discretion of the court.
"If the offender is a corporation or a juridical
entity, the official who ordered, or allowed the
commission of the offense shall be punished with
the same penalty.
"If the offender is in the government service, he
shall, in addition be dismissed from office.

"Upon verification by the PCA that no replanting


was done, the barangay captain who issued the
certification shall, upon conviction, be penalized
with imprisonment of not less than three (3) years
but not more than seven (7) years and a fine of not
less than One hundred thousand pesos
(P100,000.00) but not more than One million
pesos (P1,000,000.00). Furthermore, the barangay
captain concerned shall be perpetually disqualified
from holding any other public office.

Number of Coconut Trees Cut


From the time when the implementation of the cutting policy in 1995, the
number of coconut trees cut based on the permits issued by PCA until 2007
sums to 8,136,413 or an average of 625,878 trees per year. Cutting increased by
more than three times from 230,830 trees in 1995 to 982,713 trees the following
year. It boosted further to 1,088,896 trees in 1997, the highest so far for the
period of 13 years, previous to a downward trend reaching a low level of
257,690 trees in 2005. However, cutting has increased once more in the
following two years which could to a certain extent be the result of the large
number of trees struck down by the destructive typhoon in 2006. Although
showing great year-on-year variability, the number of trees cut grew at an
average of 27% per year. Heaviest cutting occurred in the large coconut
producing regions, notably Region 4A where Quezon province is found.
Jurisprudence and Current News
De los Reyes vs. People [G.R. No. 138297, January 27, 2006]
The instant case stemmed from a complaint filed with the Municipal Trial
Court (MTC) of Calauan, Laguna by the Philippine Coconut Authority against

Desiderio De los Reyes and Myrna Villanueva, petitioners, and several others
for violation of R.A 8048, otherwise known as The Coconut Preservation Act of
1995. On August, September and October 1996 in Brgy. Imok, Calauan,
Laguna, the above named respondents cut down and processed more or less
FOUR HUNDRED and FORTY (440) coconut trees without the required permit
to cut from the Philippine Coconut Authority in gross violation of the
provisions of R.A. 8048 or the Coconut Preservation Act of 1995.
The 2016 Antequera Councilor-elect Asterio Coquilla was sentenced to a
minimum one year and nine months to four years maximum by 1st Municipal
Circuit Trial Court, Cortes-Antequera-Maribojoc Presiding Judge Maria Elisa
Ello-Ochoco. In a ten page joint decision promulgated on April 15, 2016,
Ochoco found Coquilla guilty beyond reasonable doubt for cutting two coconut
trees without a permit from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). Coquilla
admitted in open court that he ordered the cutting of six coconut trees in his
property since these trees have grown tall, have posed actual and imminent
danger to life and property and therefore were hazardous.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The current coconut cutting regulatory policy does not consider the
landscape of the coconut farm and possible environmental impact of large scale
cutting in steep slopes and mountainous areas in evaluating permit applications.
In view of this, a prudent course of action is to enhance public awareness on the
social benefits and costs of indiscriminate cutting of coconut trees. Innovative
ways of ensuring more effective implementation of policy should be a major

consideration for PCA, requiring a more effective implementation and revisions


of the policy to address the following:
(a) environmental clearance for sloping and critical areas in issuing cutting
permits,
(b) concentrating coconut replanting in flatlands and less critical slopes,
(c) planting of striped coconut plantations in critical areas with appropriate
forest species;
(d) capacity building through farmers training on ecological awareness and
demonstration of appropriate farming systems and production possibilities that
address both ecological and economic concerns.
References
Medina, C.M. (2005). Dynamics and Environmental Impacts of Coconut
Logging in Quezon. Unpublished

Ph.D. Dissertation. University of the

Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), College, Laguna.


Pabuyon, I.M,. et.al. (2009). The Philippines Regulatory Policy on Coconut
Cutting: An assessment

Incorporating Environmental Consideration. J.

ISSAAS Vol. 15, No. 2:93-106.