DENR Caraga closes down 95 illegal sawmill plants, old-cut logs
by Herzon F. Gallego
Butuan City (August 15) -- DENR operatives have closed down at least 95 illegal sawmill plants in several areas in Caraga Region over the last two months in line with the intensified campaign of Secretary Lito Atienza, Jr on anti-illegal logging.
About 193 pieces of old-cut logs were also apprehended by the DENR at a remote village in Loreto while the laborers were trying to haul them out from a private land for transport.
In Tandag City, Surigao del Sur the DENR operatives have padlocked eight sawmill plants which are illegally operating in that area as a result of an intensified anti-illegal logging drive of the DENR region wide.
PENRO Diego Escano said in his report to the OIC, Regional Executive Director Edilberto S. Buiser, that the DENR team lead by CENRO Leonardo Aya-ay have conducted a surprise-visit at several sawmill plants in Tandag City, Barangay Gamut, Tago, and Barangay Aras-asan, Cagwait, and found out that the operators have no permit to operate a sawmill factory.
The operators, while their wood processing plants were padlocked, were advised to secure the necessary permits and other pertinent documents with the DENR pending immediately of the filing of the necessary criminal complaint for violation of forestry laws, rules and regulations.
These erring operators were also requested to wait for the approval of the Secretary of the Regional Rationalization Plan, before the DENR can issue the permits.
This brought to 95 the total number of sawmill plants that were closed down by the DENR for operating without valid permits since it began the crackdown against illegal logging operators in the region in June this year.
In Butuan City and Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, PENRO Rosendo Asunto reported that seven sawmill plants have been closed down by the CENRO personnel for operating without permits.
The team headed by CENRO Achiles Ebron has dismantled the apparatus and equipment of six mini–sawmills in Barangays Anticala, Pianing, Ampayon and Riverside in Butuan City. He said the owners of the sawmill plant in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte have volunteered to dismantle the equipment and apparatus of their factory and have it deposited at CENRO office in Bading, Butuan City.
Last month, about 60 sawmill plants in Agusan del Sur and 21 other sawmill plants in Agusan del Norte were closed down by the DENR personnel.
Meanwhile, the DENR team has apprehended a total of 193 pieces of old-cut mixed dipterocarp logs with a total volume of 1,109.68 cubic meters at a remote barangay in Loreto, Agusan del Sur.
PENRO Sixto Badua, in his report to OIC, RED Buiser said that the DENR team under CENRO Edgardo Bacomo in Loreto, was sent to verify reports about the movement of logs from a private land at Sitio Soha, Sto. Tomas, Loreto.
He said the team had discovered that several laborers have taken out about 193 pieces of old-cut logs from a private land and stockpiled them at the side of a road possibly for transport. But the DENR team was quick to seize the logs when its owner failed to show any valid documents to justify its movement.
The logs consisting mostly of lauan, bagtikan, mayapis, almon, tanguile and apitong species have an average diameter of 56 inches and about 20 to 22 meters long.
Badua said he has already summoned the owner of the logs to hear his side prior to the filing of formal charges against him for violation of forestry laws, rules and regulations.
Section 68 of PD 705 as amended by EO 277 and PD 1559 specifies that " any person who shall cut, gather, collect, remove timber or other forest products from any forestland, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or from private land, without any authority, or possess timber or possess timber or other forest products without the legal documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations, shall be punished with a penalties imposed under Article 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code. (DENR-13/PIA-Caraga) [top]