Butuan City council to probe illegal logging

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/26 June) — The city council will conduct an investigation into the illegal logging issue that has rocked the city with the discovery this month of thousands of illegal logs from other areas of Caraga Region.

Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun said the investigation aims to help the council in coming up with measures [against illegal logging].

“We have to put in place a proper mechanism to ensure security, a system for effective monitoring and tight regulation of activities in the Agusan River and along roads with respect to transportation of forest products,” he said.

Fortun, chair of the city’s Environment and Natural Resources Council (ENRC) said they are mulling an ordinance that will create an anti-illegal logging committee and demand accountability on the part of government officials and agencies.

“If the investigation would reveal that certain officials of certain agencies are involved in these illegal activities or are remiss in their duties, the council can pass a resolution recommending the transfer or even removal of these officials,” the vice mayor said.

ENRC member Dr. Virgilio G. Neri Jr., chair of the city council committee on environment and natural resources said the investigation would greatly help in the fight against illegal logging not only in the city but in the region as well.

“This investigation in aid of legislation would be the right process to help put an end to the illegal logging operations as well as answer the question on who are the people involved in the problem. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has always complained that they lack the manpower and resources…this legislation will just be the answer to correct this problem,” said Neri. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)