DENR apprehends P31 M worth of illegal forest products, 5 persons charged in court

By Herzon F. Gallego  

Butuan City— The DENR has apprehend about P31,937,964.90   worth of illegal lumbers and other forest products in the 7-day relentless operations against illegal logging in Caraga Region. Five other persons were arrested and face criminal charges in court.

               Reports reaching the DENR 13  OperationCenter indicated that the 21 teams which  were simultaneously sent to investigate the wood processing factories  in the four provinces of the region have so far apprehended about 6,892.24 cubic meters of logs and veneer products and 217,275.34 bd.ft.   lumber,flitches and sticks during the first wave of operations.

               There   were 21  unregistered WPP and lumber dealers  that were  uncovered  in  places    in Buenavista, Kitacharao, Jabonga, Cabadbaran and Nasipit in Agusan del Norte , Butuan City, and in Bayugan, Talacogon, San Franz and Bunawan in Agusan del Sur

               The operation which was ordered by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu following a directive from the President Rodrigo R. Duterte  seeks  to end all means of illegal logging and illegal mining activities in Mindanao.

               It is backed up by two brigades of the Philippine Army troops under the 4th Infantry Division Commanding General Major Gen. Rogelio Villanueva , the Philippine National Police , the DOJ-National Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (  CIDG). 

                DENR 13 Regional Executive Director Atty. Felix S. ALicer said   the all-out war against illegal logging in Caraga Region  which is also  participated by the DENR personnel from regional offices in Region 11, 10 and 13 was considered fruitful since it was launched on Saturday , April 14,2018 and has been sustained . The operations was focused on the   106 WPPs established in the region and    72 of these wood factories are dormant and have not operated since the DENR cancelled their permits. 

                 The  21 teams  engaged in  in the operation havee  thoroughly examined  the documents of the Wood Processing Plants to determine the legal source of their log supplies. Most of the illegal   trading of processed lumbers take place during night time to evade detection. The report also indicated most the CCTVs installed by most operators of the wood factors are mal functioning or not operating.           

               In  35 incidence  of apprehensions made by the operatives   10   WPPs   were  found to  have operated  with   expired permit and its source of log suppliers are  questionable.  They included  furniture shops and several stores of  lumber materials    along the roads and highways in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Buenavista in Agusan del Norte , Butuan City .    Most of these establishments   have no valid permits.

               The biggest haul of illegal forest products was made at  a  furniture shop in Barangay Sumilihon in Butuan City which  had continue to buy illegally-cut  logs from unknown  suppliers  in spite of an   with an expired permit.

                The report said  only about   24 WPP  of the existing WPPs that were  visited by the operatives were  have documents in order and clean except for the  10 wood factories which were closed and padlocked by the DENR after the operatives found them  have flagrantly violated the environmental law closed 

               The operatives also dismantled 45   sawmill facilities including  band saw, table planer, moulding machine, jointer, kiln dryer, electric motor, ply-wheel with block, saw blade, circular saw and  chainsaw . 

                 Meanwhile, the group of DENR lawyers  have  filed  criminal cases at the Fiscal Office and the Regional Environmental Courts  against the violators of laws, policies, rules and regulation of Environmental and Natural Resources.

               , “ This illegal cuttings and harvest of trees in the forest will continue for as long as there are available markets that cater to the  undocumented-cut logs from timber poachers and smugglers ‘ Director Alicer said . ”   We hope to deny the illegal outlets of undocumented forest products so that  timber poaching and smuggling would be stopped “, he said.

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