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Migrants buy settlement certificate, destroy Mường Nhé forest

Update: August, 17/2016 - 17:15
A view of the forest which has been chopped down for crops in northern mountainous Điện Biên Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Chu Quốc Hùng
Viet Nam News

ĐIỆN BIÊN – Migrants in this northern mountainous province’s Mường Nhé District have been offered a chance to purchase a household registration certificate, helping them settle down legally.

However, local authorities have warned this will worsen the problem of illegal deforestation in the district as most of them lack land for farming and usually chop down trees to grow crops to feed their families.

Figures from the district’s People’s Committee showed that almost 300ha of forest land were cleared in 313 cases of illegal deforestation in the last two years. A higher number of migrants flocking to the district was blamed for the deforestation.

Some 60 per cent of the households in the district are migrants who moved there after 2005. On average, each household destroyed 3ha of forest for their crops.

Local authorities have failed to stop them for years. Thus, last October, Deputy Prime Minister Hoàng Trung Hải required local authorities to force migrants who had moved to Điện Biên Province after 2011 to return to their homeland as a way of curbing deforestation.

However, many migrants told Vietnam News Agency reporters that they were offered a chance to pay some VNĐ10 million (US$450) to get a household certificate, which would legalise their stay.  

Mùa A Lử, a migrant living in Nà Pá Village, Mường Nhé Commune, said he had paid VNĐ2 million ($90) to Tao Văn Pín, head of the communal police office, to revoke his certificate from his hometown.

Pín asked him to pay another VNĐ10 million ($450) to get a new certificate based in the commune, but he refused due to a lack of funds, Lử said.

Another migrant, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had paid VNĐ7 million ($315) to get the certificate. He was told to stay in the forest and grow crops there. Most migrants admitted they had no rights compared to other local citizens from the village.

Migrant Thào A Lâu said homes had not been arranged for him and some other families; they were not invited to local meetings, were not eligible for any supportive policies and were not allowed to vote in the recent election.

Head of the communal police office Tao Văn Chi said he had just been assigned to the position, adding that he had not licensed any certificates for households.

Chi admitted that as many as 22 household registration certificates for Nà Pán Village were not on the police’s list for household management, suggesting that reporters should meet with officials of the police department in the district for further details.

Pờ Pờ Sơn, deputy head of Mường Nhé District’s Police Department, said fake household registration certificates were sometimes discovered.

The department has required local police to seize such certificates, affirming that the 22 questionable certificates licensing households in the commune were not on the police list.

In Nậm Pố Village, five households were found to have obtained certificates in this way.

Currently, there are some 20,000 migrant households living in more than 100 villages in the district.

Lù Văn Thanh, chairman of the district’s People’s Committee, said the committee knew about the issue and was working on it by re-examining and seizing illegal certificates. Those who were involved would be held liable according to their actions. – VNS

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