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Cablegate: Philippines Responds to Lacey Act Implementation

VZCZCXRO0371
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2744 3540602
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 190602Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2723
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS MANILA 002744

SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES/ENRC - Mark Johnson, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP
STATE PASS USTR
STATE PASS USAID FOR AA/ANE, AA/EGAT
BANGKOK FOR RDMA
USFS FOR CMACKIE
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID EAGR ETRD EINV BTIO RP
SUBJECT: Philippines Responds to Lacey Act Implementation

REF: STATE 126654

1. Summary: Directors of three Philippine bureaus involved in
forestry issues expressed appreciation for our bringing to their
attention the Lacey Act amendments and the commitment of the
government of the Philippines to impede illegal logging. They also
enumerated the challenges Philippine industry will face in
attempting to comply with the Act. The Philippine government has
electronically disseminated the Act's provisions. End Summary.

2. The Philippine Forest Management Bureau responded positively to
the amended Lacy Act and immediately linked its website,
http://forestry.denr.gov.ph, to the Act's key points and the APHIS
website. The Bureau disseminated the information to its regional
field offices and concerned stakeholders.

3. The Forest Management Bureau's Director voiced concern about the
challenge Philippine exporters will have when required to declare
the source of the raw materials. For example, Philippine
manufacturers import around 64% of their wood requirement (logs,
lumber, veneer, plywood, and secondary processed wood products) from
Solomon Islands, Malaysia, Australia, Papau New Guinea, Canada, and
the United States. The intermixed species and sources of materials
in the exported products may be hard to ascertain.

4. EconOff met with Philippine Plant Animal and Wildlife Bureau
Director Mundita Lim, who applauded the role that the Act will play
in retarding global deforestation, but expressed doubt about the
documentation on Philippine sources of lumber. Although the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources has checkpoints
throughout the Philippines, lumber harvesters sometimes fake permits
or illegally reuse legitimate permits. The Department of
Environment and Natural Resources is working to install a system to
end this abuse, but Lim does not have confidence in the current
system's integrity, nor can she project when the new system will be
in place. At the present time, although paperwork covering
Philippine-sourced wood materials may appear legitimate, a final
product may still contain illegally harvested wood. Even the
manufacturer of the product might have no way of being certain that
its inputs are legitimate.

5. The Bureau of Plant Industry's Director characterized the Act as
a "righteous bill that protects the United States and supports other
countries' efforts to combat illegal logging." Leaders in his
Bureau under the Philippine Department of Agriculture agree with the
Act's intent, but sent a list of comments which Post will transmit
to OES, APHIS, and FAS. The Bureau is particularly interested in
definitions and how non-compliant shipments will be treated, and is
very interested in following the issue and learning the details of
implementation plans as soon as they become available.

KENNEY

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