KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/25 Aug) – Environment officials in North Cotabato are readying charges against the owner of some 2,500 cubic meters of logs reportedly cut in a village in Makilala town in North Cotabato declared as a protected area.
Walter Ruizo, municipal environment and natural resources officer (MENRO) of Makilala, said logging in areas near Mount Apo is strictly prohibited under existing environment laws.
Maj. Leo Diaz, of the 57th Infantry Battalion, said the cutting of logs was monitored at Barangay Buhay, one of the villages in Makilala town declared as protected area and part of the ancestral domain of the Manuvu tribe.
Diaz led the apprehension of a Fuzu truck loaded with logs of Binuwang and Red Lawaan species.
“It’s so easy for the Army to monitor the cutting of trees in those areas because we have troops there. Also, we have the community support,” said Diaz.
He said that at the time they held the truck, the owner of the logs, identified as Beting Lahid, could not present documents that the cutting of trees was authorized.
Diaz quoted Lahid as saying that the felled trees were cut in a lot owned by Madib Palawan, chairman of Barangay Buhay in Makilala.
Palawan, according to Ruizo, is partly responsible for allowing the cutting of trees in his area of responsibility.
Ruizo said that village officials in protected zones, including Palawan, “know very well that logging is banned or strictly prohibited.”
Diaz and his men are set to turnover today the truck of illegally-cut logs to the DENR in Makilala. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)