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CUTTING TREES ON YOUR OWN LAND

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. http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2002/ra_9175_2002.html, 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 prison 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 ocular 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.

 

(75) Comments

      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
          • PD 705 CHAPTER IV
            CRIMINAL OFFENSES AND PENALTIES

            Section 68. Cutting, gathering and/or collecting timber or other products without license. Any person who shall cut, gather, collect, or remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable and disposable public lands, or from private lands, without any authority under a license agreement, lease, license or permit, shall be guilty of qualified theft as defined and punished under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code; Provided, That in the case of partnership, association or corporation, the officers who ordered the cutting, gathering or collecting shall be liable, and if such officers are aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be deported without further proceedings on the part of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation.

            The Court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of the timber or forest products to cut, gathered, collected or removed, and the machinery, equipment, implements and tools used therein, and the forfeiture of his improvements in the area.

            ….IF SOMEONE DNT BELIEVED ON YOU…

            The same penalty plus cancellation of his license agreement, lease, license or permit and perpetual disqualification from acquiring any such privilege shall be imposed upon any licensee, lessee, or permittee who cuts timber from the licensed or leased area of another, without prejudice to whatever civil action the latter may bring against the offender.

            FOR EVERYONE IN THE PHILIPPINES.THANKYOU.

        • Jungle

          on   said 

          That’s very short sighted of you and I say selfish. We should always follow rules especially in this case, for ecological survivor’s sake. One reason why our country moves in a sloth way forward is because of people like you who does not care about the rules and regulations, much more the law.
          If you’re not aware enough that tree cutting is so rampant in Philippines that it created big calamities like landslide, flooding.. and the list go on.
          I advise that you read the DENR’s regulations. You can start by knowing the meaning of those abbreviations. You must know that you have no right whatsoever to cut trees even if it’s in your own property. You still need to get permit from DENR, simple as that and a small amount from your pocket. And you know what.. it will save you a lot of trouble, and maybe you will understand and care more for our environment.

          Reply
          • Anonymous

            on   said 

            I believe in you, Gord and Jungle. Up to now, i cannot even build a rest house use in my own property with natural grown trees due to strict DENR rules.

  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?

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        on   said 

        I let somebody cut molave on my own , it was transported safely and now at home. When somebody reported me to the denr that i cut, will i still be punished.?

        Reply
        • Rastaman

          on   said 

          Hello Anonymous,

          Here is an excerpt of Section 80 of PD 705 otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code of the Philipppines:

          Section 80. Arrest; Institution of criminal actions. A forest officer or employee of the Bureau shall arrest even without warrant any person who has committed or is committing in his presence any of the offenses defined in this Chapter. He shall also seize and confiscate, in favor of the Government, the tools and equipment used in committing the offense, and the forest products cut, gathered or taken by the offender in the process of committing the offense. The arresting forest officer or employee shall thereafter deliver within six (6) hours from the time of arrest and seizure, the offender and the confiscated forest products, tools and equipment to, and file the proper complaint with, the appropriate official designated by law to conduct preliminary investigations and file informations in court.

          Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and anything stated herein is directly lifted from the source https://www.lawphil.net/statutes/presdecs/pd1975/pd_705_1975.html.

          Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply
  4. 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.

    Reply
  5. 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?

    Reply
  6. 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?

    Reply
  7. 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?

    Reply
  8. 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 :

    Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
  10. 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

    Reply
  11. 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

    Reply
    • Christian

      on   said 

      Apply for a permit, you only need to pay 150 Pesos. Other than that there is no other DENR fees to be collected. What’s important is you need to find a DENR-accredited tree-cutting contractor. They are the ones you have to pay.

      Reply
  12. 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

    Reply
  13. 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)

    Reply
  14. 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?

    Reply
  15. Eliezet Cejar

    on   said 

    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.

    Reply
  16. 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?

    Reply
  17. Mark

    on   said 

    Is it illegal for a neighbor to trim and cut certain part of a narra tree which is located on the lot that I purchased?

    Reply
    • pipadmin

      on   said 

      No

      Civil Code of the Philippines:
      Article 680. If the branches of any tree should extend over a neighboring estate, tenement, garden or yard, the owner of the latter shall have the right to demand that they be cut off insofar as they may spread over his property, and, if it be the roots of a neighboring tree which should penetrate into the land of another, the latter may cut them off himself within his property. (592)

      Reply
    • pipadmin

      on   said 

      Apply for a license at your local or regional DENR.

      CHAPTER IV
      CRIMINAL OFFENSES AND PENALTIES

      Section 68. Cutting, gathering and/or collecting timber or other products without license. Any person who shall cut, gather, collect, or remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable and disposable public lands, or from private lands, without any authority under a license agreement, lease, license or permit, shall be guilty of qualified theft as defined and punished under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code; Provided, That in the case of partnership, association or corporation, the officers who ordered the cutting, gathering or collecting shall be liable, and if such officers are aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be deported without further proceedings on the part of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation.

      The Court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of the timber or forest products to cut, gathered, collected or removed, and the machinery, equipment, implements and tools used therein, and the forfeiture of his improvements in the area.

      The same penalty plus cancellation of his license agreement, lease, license or permit and perpetual disqualification from acquiring any such privilege shall be imposed upon any licensee, lessee, or permittee who cuts timber from the licensed or leased area of another, without prejudice to whatever civil action the latter may bring against the offender.

      https://www.lawphil.net/statutes/presdecs/pd1975/pd_705_1975.html

      Reply
  18. dolores

    on   said 

    we have several trees in our property and now we are planning to build a house. we need to cut down those trees to clear the area, do we need to pay more for the permit?

    Reply
  19. Requirements needed to get Permit to Cut a Tree/Trees:

    1) Letter request addressed to Jacqueline A. Caancan, Regional Executive Director, DENR, NCR
    Indicating reasons why the tree will be cut down
    2) Brgy Endorsement of No Objection
    3) Xerox Copy of Transfer Certificate of Title
    4) Full Photo of Tree
    5) Photo of Tree *(if damaging the house)
    6) Authorization in case the owner of the house (as indicated in the TCT) will not be the one to process the permit. Pls indicate also in the Authorization letter that he/she will also be the one to get the permit upon approval.
    7) Sketch Map (Location of the Tree)
    Note: 1) Need to buy seedling kapalit ng puno which they will plant somewhere.
    2) Requesting Party will be the one to get somebody to cut the tree upon issuance of permit.
    3) Birth Certificate and ID’s of the one to process might be needed
    4) The tree will be inspected within 1-15 days (depends on availability of the inspector)

    Submit requirements to Forest Utilization at North Ave in front of Veterans Hospital

    Hope this helps for those who need information or call DENR (Forestry) at Telephone No. 8-420-7351

    Have a good day everyone.

    Reply
  20. Manny

    on   said 

    Sir

    I have two small mango trees (about 3 yrs old) and coconut tree (3yrs old) in my property that i want to cut to build house, do i still need to get permit?

    Thanks

    Reply
  21. Fort

    on   said 

    Hi, I am currently working on my architectural thesis. I already went to PENRO, and a forester said “cutting of trees in private property is allowed as long as the tree is disturbance to the construction of the building.” (this applies to those who have permit issued by DENR). I just wanna ask, what law can be used to explain and justify his statement? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  22. Fred Patterson

    on   said 

    Thanks for the great post here.
    Question, If I plant an endangered tree from a seed and grow it, do I still have to get a permit to cut it?

    Reply
  23. MANILYN MARTIZANO

    on   said 

    Hello po. Tanung ko lng po if your own property and just cut a few trees nagagawing Kubo pwidi ba cut just for personal use. lots titles, active paying for government tax. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Anonymous

    on   said 

    you are now allowed to cut trees in your private land without a permit as long as it is for your personal use. but if youre going to sell them then diffinitely the government deserved a cut and you should spend a penny for a permit. the law were crafted several years ago just to regulate logging activities and to prevent further distructions in the forest but then later on the goverment found out that cutting trees for a small household purposes doesnt really affect much. the law originally is intended for a trucks loaded by a huge trunk of trees transporting from.one place to another. the law has an exemption you can cut trees if it endangers peoples lives, like if it is beside your house or electrict wirings.. for clearing roads.. the idea is that never cut trees just because you just feel cutting it without any reason.. always remember it takes years and years to grow one a lot of then didnt survived in their first year
    do not kill them in just seconds.

    Reply
  25. Steve Dejka

    on   said 

    so I would venture not may folks operate a private sawmill in the Philippines, huh?

    I operate a sawmill in Durango, Colorado. I own 3 chainsaws, and a 20′ mill. I get logs from all over the Four Corners area, mostly from folks clear cutting a lot for a home build, or folks doing fire mitigation on their property, occasionally I head out to the national forest with a wood cutting permit to load up the log trailer.

    My wife and I are contemplating homesteading/farming/ranching in the Philippines (she’s from Manila), but after reading this I’d have some reservations about owning a sawmill there. My passion is milling and woodworking (dream of building my own home like folks do out here with milled lumber), but I’m guessing that would not fly to well if I’m required to get a permit for every tree I’d like to cut down and /or mill.

    I also suppose a small time lumber business wouldn’t fly either.

    thoughts?

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    on   said 

    I need your help. We already cut half of the tree inside our property or inside our land because we are building our house . We cut the branches and all the leaves . The trunk and the root is still there. If we will process a permit to cut tree? Is it too late?or can we still process a permit Or are we gonna go to jail already? Please help.

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    on   said 

    We already cut half of the acacia tree. Only the trunk and the roots are there. I just knew this law and I want to make ut legal., is it too late now? Or the denr will still allow us to get permit?

    The tree is inside our property and we are building our house. We don’t have plan selling the logs and keeping it for our personal use instead, like gagawing upuan na gagamitin sa bahay at panggatong. Makukulong ba kami? O magagawan pa ng paraan? Please help me

    Reply
  28. Emily B. Briones

    on   said 

    Im going to take the DENR Permit because the treeS thei m going to cut nakaharang po kasi sa kalsada na tatayuan ng house… ito po ay gagawing sime- subdivision dahil ito po ay urban poor na nag mgangalan na TAM ISAN HOA INC.
    DAHIL ITO PO AY NAKATUMBA NARIN SA DAANAN ANG PUNO…PWEDI PO BA AKO KUMUHA NG DENR PERMIT UPANG ITO AY MAPUTOL?

    Reply
  29. Rhodora Cruz

    on   said 

    I want to buy a residential lot so that we can build a small house but there are mango trees and duhat trees in that lot which just grew there. Can we just cut them because the trees are in the center of the lot. Thanks

    Reply
  30. how much does a DENR-approved-private-contractor would charge to cut down “a” mango tree? I have spoken with DENR already for a license but I would like to talk to our neighbors who will be affected by imminent danger of this tree if a super typhoon hits our region. I am sure they will ask for the price. Your help is super appreciated!

    Reply

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