2,000 logs floating in Agusan River confiscated

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/6 June) – More than 2,000 pieces of illegally cut Lawaan logs with an estimated worth of P2.4 million were confiscated here by the police last Sunday after Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. received information of the logs being transported through the Agusan River.

HOT LOGS. Police and local government operatives confiscated more than 2,000 pieces of illegally cut Lawaan logs floating in the Agusan River in Barangay San Mateo, Butuan City last Sunday. The logs are reportedly worth P2.4 million. MindaNews photo by Erwin MascarinasThe mayor expressed disbelief in the volume of logs floating in the river just about an hour’s boat ride away from the city proper.

“I received a tip that a large number of logs are being transported in the river, so we checked it,” Amante said. he added that no documents on the logs were presented to authorities.

“It is a big question how come these logs were able to pass through the monitoring checkpoints of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Las Nieves,” he said, referring to a neighboring town upstream of the Agusan River.

Amante said the apprehension was the biggest catch in one single operation this year.

He said several names have emerged as to the owner or the people behind the logs but added they could not release the logs until investigations are over.

Local government personnel said the logs were connected to each other with cables. They estimated that it would take 14 pump boats to be able to move the logs to its current position.

“This is a message to the illegal loggers that the LGU is serious about its campaign against illegal logging,” said Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun. He added that even with the existing total log ban, illegal logging activities are still happening. “That is why the LGU has to come in because we cannot rely on the DENR to do it alone,” he pointed out.

Supt. Ferdinand Dacillo, of the Butuan City Police Office’s Public Safety Battalion, said that upon receiving information about the logs he immediately requested the mayor to use the city’s speed boats and pump boats.

“Thanks to the boats, we got to the area fast, and immediately secured the logs,” he said.

Belo Udarbe, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO), said that so far, the persons who escorted the logs are not saying who are behind the transport of the huge volume of logs.

He said they won’t be charging cases against the escorts because authorities are mainly after the owners. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)