By Mike U. Crismundo
Butuan City – More than 1.6 million board feet of illegally cut lumber and flitches have been seized in anti-illegal logging operations in different parts of northeastern Mindanao, according to an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
DENR 13 Regional Director Charlie E. Fabre said the confiscation of the illegal logs and lumber were mostly undertaken in the upper stream areas of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur since January this year.
A total of 1.157 million board feet were seized in Agusan del Sur, 270,649 bd. ft. in Surigao del Sur, 23,969 bd. ft. in Surigao del Norte, 149,397 bd. ft. in Agusan del Norte, and 2,535 bd. ft. in Dinagat Islands.
The confiscated forest products are now being kept in designated areas in the region, and some are in the offices of the provincial and community environment and natural resources offices (PENROs, CENROs), military and police headquarters and local government units, he said.
“From these confiscated forest products – 401,570.22 bd. ft. will be donated to ‘Bangon Marawi City’ rehabilitation program,” Fabre said.
He said the DENR 13 has also filed in court 54 cases against the apprehended suspects with violation of the Forestry Code of the Philippines.
“Our field operation against timber poaching was boosted by the use of drone and support of the netizens,” he said.
“Several saw milling plants operating without permit and fly-by-night small saw mills were already padlocked and closed and operators are also facing charges in various courts in the region,” he said.
The official also disclosed that their anti-illegal logging operations are now concentrating in the upper stream of Agusan del Sur, particularly from the municipality of San Luis onward to Talacogon, La Paz and Loreto and also in upper stream of Bislig City onward to Lingig municipality in Surigao del Sur, up to the boundary of Davao Oriental province.