REPUBLIC ACT No. 3701
AN ACT TO DISCOURAGE DESTRUCTION OF FORESTS, FURTHER AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTION TWENTY-SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-ONE OF THE REVISED ADMINISTRATIVE CODE.
Section 1. Section twenty-seven hundred fifty-one of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended, is further amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 2751. Unlawful occupation or destruction of public forest. Without the written permission of the Director of Forestry or his duly authorized representative, it shall be unlawful for any person willfully to enter upon any public forest, proclaimed timberland, communal forest, communal pasture, and forest reserve and occupy the same, or to make "caingin" therein or in any manner destroy such forest or part thereof, or to cause any damage to the timber stand and other forest products and forest growth found therein, or to assist, aid or abet any other person so to do. It shall also be unlawful for any person negligently to permit a fire which has been set upon his own premises to be communicated, with destructive results, to any of the public forests hereinabove described. Any person violating this section shall suffer
"(a) If the offense is committed within a proclaimed timberland or communal forest or communal pasture, a fine of six times the regular government charges upon the timber of other forest products so unlawfully destroyed, and in addition thereto, imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than one year;
"(b) If the offense is committed within a forest reserve, a fine of eight times the regular government charges on the timber or other forest products so unlawfully destroyed, and in addition thereto, imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than one year and six months;
"(c) If the offense is committed in any of the public forests, other than those mentioned under subsections (a) and (b) hereof, a fine equivalent to four times the regular government charges upon the timber or other forest products so unlawfully destroyed, and in addition thereto, imprisonment for not less than three months nor more than six months.
"In all case falling under this section, the court shall, upon conviction, order the eviction of the offender from the land, and the forfeiture to the Government of any construction or improvement made thereon. If the area is reforested or under reforestation, the court shall, in addition to the penalties herein provided, sentence the accused to pay the government four times the actual damages sustained as determined by the value of plantings and improvements destroyed and the detriment to the land and vegetation thereof.
"No person who has occupied any portion of these forests in good faith for more than five years prior to June 8, 1939 shall be subject to the penalty prescribed herein and should the area so occupied be found to be more fitted for agricultural than for timber purposes, the same may be disposed of in favor of the actual occupant or occupants under the provisions of Commonwealth Act Numbered One hundred and forty-one.
"Whenever a land of the public domain is burned or the timber therein cut or destroyed without license or permit, the actual occupant shall be presumed to have burned or cut or destroyed its timber.
"'Actual occupants' as used in this Act shall mean any person who occupies the area for residential purposes, cultivates the land, makes improvements, or derives profits from the land in any manner whatsoever.
"Any person who employs or induces another to commit acts in violation of the provisions of this section shall likewise be punished.
"Representatives, agents or employees of the Bureau of Forestry and the Reforestation Administration who fail to report and/or prosecute criminally persons who destroy trees and other forest products within their jurisdiction shall be punished by a fine of not less than two hundred pesos, or imprisonment of not less than one month nor more than six months, or both fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court, and in addition, shall be automatically dismissed from the service."
Section 2. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Approved: June 22, 1963.
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