BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/18 June) — For the fourth time this month, the city government scored against illegal logging when it discovered P400,000 worth of lauan logs over the weekend.
The Mayor’s Action Network (MAN) together with the City Public Safety Company of the Philippine National Police (PNP) seized 429 pieces or 17,000 board feet of illegally cut lauan in Purok 4, Barangay Pianing, Butuan City.
The city government hauled the logs on four dump trucks and took custody of the seized items.
On June 3, the local government also seized 4,236 pieces of lauan logs that were transported from Agusan del Sur through the Agusan River. So far, it was the biggest volume of illegal logs intercepted this year in the city.
City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. said in a statement last week that the June 3 seizure was just the beginning of the intensified campaign against illegal logging.
“We will continue with our efforts especially now that we have been very successful in our anti-illegal logging campaign. We can’t let this violators think that we are only good for a week, we will continue and push on and that we are serious in stopping them,” said Amante.
Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, in his visit here last week, said he had asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to investigate its personnel in the region for failing to detect the passage of logs. He noted that the logs that were seized on June 3 passed through five towns and a string of DENR checkpoints in Agusan del Sur.
Chief Inspector Ferdinand Dacillo, officer in charge of the CPSC said he learned about the existence of abandoned square logs in Pianing through a text message that he received around 2pm on Saturday.
He said that they arrived in Pianing by 3pm. After informing the DENR he said they requested the Philippine Army to help secure the logs throughout the night.
He said that despite the presence of soldiers some locals managed to sneak out several logs which they hid in a nearby creek.
“But we did recognize right away upon arriving that some pieces were missing,” said Dacillo.
City councilor Virgilio G. Neri Jr., chair of the committee on environment and natural resources said the logs seized on Saturday might have come from a local sawmill.
“We had information suggesting that the logs were dropped off here as a result of the planned inspection of saw mills. Maybe they were afraid that they might be caught with the logs inside their compound so they decided to dump them here,” said Neri.
He said they have some names of suspected financiers and possible sources of the logs but could not reveal these yet as the investigation is still going on.
“Secretry Robredo gave us instruction that the confiscated logs will be kept with the PNP or at the city hall grounds. Of course maybe in the right time these logs will be properly turned over to the DENR. Until then it will remain with the LGU’s custody,” he added.
On June 13, members of the MAN and CPSC seized 5,666 board feet of lauan logs estimated to be worth P141,650. The logs were transported on a jeepney towards Barangay Bading.
The same units intercepted on June 2 roughly 14,000 board feet of lauan logs with an estimated market value of P280,000, being hauled on a ten-wheel truck in Purok 6, Barangay Villa Kananga. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)