Illegal sawmill shut down in Zambo

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/9 August) – Environment authorities here have scored in their campaign as they dismantled a newly-built mini-sawmill illegally operating in an upland barangay here, officials disclosed Thursday.

This came about as environment officials, in coordination with the police, have strengthened the campaign against illegal sawmills operation after the anti-illegal logging task force confiscated two weeks ago some P1.2 million worth of illegally cut trees of hard wood species in this city.

SPO4 Ruben Najirul, Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) environmental desk officer, said they have dismantled last Saturday a mini-sawmill illegally operating at Sitio Pangulayan, Barangay Tolosa, an upland village located 23 kilometers east of this city.

Tolosa was where police confiscated hundreds of flitches of good lumber of hard wood species and arrested three persons last June.

Najirul said the existence of the mini-sawmill was brought to the attention of his office by an informant.

He said he and personnel of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-East headed by forestry specialist Pilarito Montebon rushed to Sitio Pangulayan, Tolosa.

“Thereat, the group spotted a newly constructed mini-sawmill operating in the area and producing fish boxes without the necessary permit,” Najirul said.

Montebon said the operation of sawmill without permit is a violation of Presidential Decree 705 otherwise known as the “Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.”

Najirul said the alleged owners of the sawmill that was illegally operating were identified as Jomer Apolinario and Joel Galos, who were not around when they conducted the raid.

They were summoned to appear at the CENRO-East for further investigation, Najirul added.

The mini-sawmill was dismantled and several paraphernalia, including three power chainsaws, were seized and turned over to the CENRO-East office in preparation for the filing of appropriate charges against the alleged owners, Najirul said. (MindaNews)