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cutting trees on your own land in the philippines

Cutting Trees on Your own Land in the Philippines is not as simple as you might imagine!

So you have finally acquired your lot and you are starting to plan a build. One of the first thing most people decide to do is clear the land to see where they will put their house, but you better go into this informed. To those of you like me, who come from a Western country, the logic that most of us have grown up with is that if a tree is on your own land, you can pretty well always just go ahead and cut it down. You go gas up the chainsaw, plan your cuts and go to it.

Here in The Philippines it is not so simple and if you don’t know the laws about cutting trees, you can get yourself in a world of trouble.

First off, you cannot use, own or even be in possession of a chainsaw without having being granted a chainsaw permit. Though I knew this, I decided to do a little bit more thorough research and was absolutely shocked at what I found. When I checked this link out ,, I must admit I kinda chuckled because to me it seems that it must be easier to get a gun in this country than it is to purchase and use a chainsaw ! If you think to yourself that, well big deal, I will just go ahead and if caught will pay the fine, you might want to think again. Take special note of the penalties which besides a fine, carry a prisoin sentence of between 6 and 8 years. If you are a foreigner, it is even worse for you because even if you survive 6 years in a filipino jail, what is waiting for you at the end of the sentence is immediate deportation since it is a criminal conviction.

If you do somehow get around the chainsaw permit , the next thing is the permit for the actual tree cutting. Here things get difficult to find out accurate answers without hours of research, but from my own experience, you need to put in an application to Department of the Environment and Natural Resources. I am not sure of the actual procedure myself beyond knowing that it just ain’t worth it for me to find out. There are many different types of trees and some are totally protected while others are not, and I assume to apply for the permit for cutting trees you will need to carefully document the species, age, location and probably a lot more. I also assume that if a foreigner is involved, at some point you would need an occular inspection form a DENR rep.

Finally, if all this is not enough to scare you away from cutting trees on your land, there is something more you need to watch out for. It is also illegal to posses or transport any lumber that is not legally obtain through permit. Again I have found this hard to research fully, but again I know from personal experience that at the barest minimum, if you get caught transporting wood, you will need to prove it was not illegally obtained.

All in all cutting trees here in the Philippines is probably something that any foreigner should stay away from. If you breach the laws in any way, the penalties are criminal, not civil or administrative which will mean jail time and deportation. Though there may be loopholes in the legalities, I for one, as a layman, just do not know where to find them and in the grand scheme of things do not feel that it is worth the risk. I have taken my trusted Attorney’s advice and done the simpliest and safest thing, and that is when I want to do any land clearing I hire a local to do it with a clear written contract that he will abide by all laws and regulations.


(31) Comments

  1. g vecino

    on   said 

    Hello, is it okay to cut a mango tree in your backyard whose roots are breaking the foundation of your house?

  2. Edsel

    on   said 

    Can the regulatory will go after me if I cut a big tree that is planted in a neighbor’s private lot that pose a threat to fall in my house when anbig typhoon comes and already damaging the sewer system underneath it? What is my penalty if yes?

  3. gord

    on   said 

    Yes they probably can. You need to get a permit, but if the tree is causing a potential danger, then that gives a good reason to be granted the permit.

  4. charisse

    on   said 

    I have 4 narra trees in my land and I am planning to sell them what os the process? is it possible?

  5. gord

    on   said 

    You would have to go to DENR and apply for a permit. They would be able to tell you the full lsit of requirements, such as Barangay clearance and geotagged photos,,, etc

  6. Arabel densing

    on   said 

    I have tree in my lot,and it happened that strong wind cut off one branches and hit the roof of the comfort room of my nieghbor what is my responsibility with thier little damage done.

  7. gord

    on   said 

    I would assume that you would be responsible for any damage if the branch was from a tree on your property. If a tree is a potential danger, then this will give you a valid reason to apply for a permit to cut or trim

  8. Hennie Vergara

    on   said 

    Is it possible to have one of the two bankal trees and one of the mahogany trees to be shorten to protect the subdivision water tank which have cause cracks due to the smashing of the upper part of the tree to the water tank during heavy downpour with strong winds or even strong winds only during bad weatger and especially during typhoons and also the other bankal tree with many branches a threat to electric wires will accidentally cut as the bankal branches are prone to break and will fall on the wirings and might cause to property damage and threat to human lives passing the area. Thank you for your reply.

  9. John John Rematica

    on   said 

    Do you still have to get a permit even though the tree that you are going to cut down is already dead?

  10. badong

    on   said 

    My neighbor has been complaining about our tree yet the tree that she was complaining about is located far from her house. does she have the right to have it cut down?

  11. Kevin Sadaya

    on   said 

    It involves money also I think.Here in our place a private lot planned to be develop, almost 30 trees are being cut downed. Some trees ages 100,50 & 30 yrs old. are downed. How much money did the DENR get?

  12. Marionne Josephus E. Mariano

    on   said 

    hi good morning

    Is it possible that our neighborhood cut our narra tree,because the root of narra damaged their house?

  13. Drean

    on   said 

    do you need to apply for a cutting permit if the trees are just 50mm. diameter ipil-ipil and aratilis trees?

  14. nona m. escoreal

    on   said 

    do all trees of any kind whatsoever need to have a permit to cut ?
    or does the law specify what trees only to cut :

  15. Hi! i just want to ask if a permission is still needed if the trees are still small or have a small diameter trunk, or trees like banana tree, bamboo, and palm tree.

  16. donaldduck

    on   said 

    i don’t believe you, where i live we cut trees for as long as we want. This is a private subdivision and develop by a big company, so building a home or a fence you need to cut down trees. All of us are cutting down trees here. Like I did cut one tree since it is situated to a fence I was making. aND my neighbour cut down the tree in his side aswell coz he need to build his fence too. Law doesn’t control the whole country,how else can a place be develop and be a city without cutting those trees. it’s not that serious, the whole country is cutting down trees. Why will the government focus on trees when they can’t even take action on corruption. And the chain saw, i don’t believe that many people are selling chainsaw in manila, my boss bought one there aint any issues with licence of chain saw. Maybe if you get in trouble it’s because your foreign and they want money from you.

  17. If, you do not believe, me, just do some more research. It has nothing to do with being a foreigner or a Filipino. The laws are not applicable only to foreigners. Being in the development business here, I assure you that we follow the laws to the letter and that means obtaining the necessary permits for tree cutting as outlined by statutes of the Philippines. I certainly do agree with you though that spending more time and money on corruption would be helpful to us all.

  18. Imelda

    on   said 

    Our land is being affected by road widening. Our mahogany trees were cut off by DENR, do they have the right to take all the timbers since we bought the seedlings we were the the who planted it. The government already took a part of our land for road widening without just compensation, they are also taking our timbers. It is not fair i suppose

  19. Anna

    on   said 

    Hi I just wanted to to ask if you know, how much per tree you have to pay for cutting the tree? We have 9 fruit trees that needs to be cut. DENR region 7 head of our province came to our place today after many months of submitting our permit to cut trees, suddenly they came and told us if we pay 22 thousands pesos they will cut the tree asap. I’m researching about how much per tree to cut but count not find one. I hope you can share me your thoughts and ideas about this. Thanks Anna

  20. Avelino M. Bacallo

    on   said 

    For trees that are considered premium or endangered species, cutting is still allowed but on justifiable reasons. Narra and Molave are classic examples of these. Only the DENR,Secretary or his duly authorized rep. can issue a permit. You can go to your nearest Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) or Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) re this matter they will surely guide you; to avoid being arrested and can be put in jailed right away if you are caught in the act (flagrante delicto) and may be subjected to inquest proceeding at the Prosecution Office. The applicable law is a special law, all those who are found guilty are all consider principal no accessory or accomplice. Sect. 68 of PD 705, as amended and further amended provided the substantial applicable legal provision to deal with this matter. Thank you and Mabuhay

  21. JR

    on   said 

    Hi, below are the requirements for the tree cutting.

    1. letter request from the owner
    2. copy of land title/ tax declaration
    3. brgy. certificate of no objection in the cutting of trees (please do not accept if the certificate indicate they approve the cutting)

  22. Just asking

    on   said 

    Is there a Philippine law regarding a neighbor cutting down a tree/plant without permission in someone else’s property? What are the consequences?

  23. People now are discourage to plant trees on their lot even for personal used because of tremendous requirements of the government with regards to the cutting of trees. That is why we
    are shorted of supply of lumber for residential house construction even in the barangays.

  24. Anonymous

    on   said 

    Is it legal for a brgy chairwoman to destroy and kill a 20 yr. old Palmera tree in the middle of the sidewalk in front of our residence without informing us or advicing to transfer the tree inside our backyard rather than destroying it, just to follow mayor isko moreno’s memorandum on clearing of obstructions in the sidewalks?

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