P.69M worth of illegal logs seized in Butuan

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/30 Nov.) – Two hundred thirty-one illegally cut lauan (dipterocarp) logs with a total volume of 142 cubic meters and estimated value of P698,830 were discovered floating along the Agusan River on Wednesday morning.

Police Supt. Romy Palgue, deputy director of the Butuan City Police Office said an anonymous informant told the Presidential Anti-organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) about the presence of the logs in barangay Mahogany.

He said that aside from the PAOCC and the local and regional police, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government unit went with the team.

Senior Insp. Nefre Acaso, chief of the city police’s public safety company said his men found the logs floating and abandoned in the river.

The DENR personnel measured the logs, and the policemen kept watch to prevent them from being smuggled before their turnover to the DENR or local government unit, said Acaso.

He said the same policemen who found the logs belonged to the same police team that raided the large illegal mining site last November 5 in Barangay Taligaman.

He said that although their priority is internal security, they are also involved in the campaign against illegal logging and mining.

A local government employee who requested not to be named questioned how the logs were able to pass through the DENR riverine checkpoints without being detected.

“If the logs were captured in barangay Mahogany, this means it is already in the heart of the city. We can assume that these logs came from Agusan del Sur and towed in the river. The main question here is how it passed the different DENR monitoring checkpoints in the river” the employee said.

MindaNews tried to get the side of the DENR regional office in Butuan City but its officials did not answer the request for an interview either in person or over the phone. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)