8,700 pieces of lauan, yakal logs seized in Butuan

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/03 October) – Around 8,700 pieces of abandoned lauan and yakal lumber with an estimated value of P1.2 million were seized on Monday in Purok 2, Barangay Upper Doongan here by local police.

HOT LUMBER. Policemen discover this stash of illegally-cut lauan and yakan lumber hidden in a residential area in Purok 2, Barangay Upper Doongan in Butuan City last October 2, 2012. MindaNews photo by Erwin MascarinasThe seized lumber had a total volume of 64,755 board feet. They were found at the back of the warehouse of Jhero King Enterprise owned by Roland Seblario, the same person who was arrested last September 26 but out on bail, for alleged violation of Presidential Decree 705 (Revised Forestry Code).

Butuan City Police Station 2 deputy for administration, Senior Inspector Renel Serrano revealed that information from a “concerned citizen” led them to the site where the logs were being kept.

Serrano said their intelligence operatives verified the information first before they secured the area together with station commander Chief Inspector Rowena Martinez.

He said they then informed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the city mayor’s office.

He said they could not believe the volume was that huge and how it was hidden among the banana trees and underneath several houses.

He added the residents denied any involvement in the incident and even insisted they did not know how the logs got there.

Many residents who requested not to be named said that the lumber had been there for almost two weeks already, and the laborers who carried it were paid P500 each. But they refused to reveal where the lumber really came from.

Serrano, however, said nobody wanted to testify against certain people who were allegedly involved in the incident preventing them to file charges.

Authorities had a hard time retrieving and transporting the logs since the area is a residential site with plenty of bananas growing around. Some 20 laborers carried the logs into dump trucks waiting near the main road.

The lumber had been moved to the basketball court at the city police office. An eight-man team of the police City Public Safety Company has taken turns guarding the lumber together with personnel of Station 2 and eight other members of the Mayor’s Action Network.

Last September 27, DENR OIC Regional Executive Director and Assistant Secretary Marlo Mendoza said in a phone interview that they had sent personnel to the warehouse in Doongan to check and said that they reported finding nothing unusual. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)