DENR approves disposition of 30,000 bd-ft of logs in favor of former Congressman Eduardo Veloso
By Ninfa B Quirante
Catbalogan City (February 18) -- As Samarnons protested the ruling of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Jose Atienza, Jr approving the request of Ex Congressman Eduardo Veloso to execute the deed of donation granted by San Jose Timber Corporation, they could not do anything but concede, albeit grudgingly.
In a Dialogue with a multi-sectoral group at the Fortune Hotel in Catbalogan City, today, the Samarnons were visibly disgruntled with DENR 'awarding the 30 thousand board feet of logs to Veloso.
In a Memorandum from the DENR Secretary, Jose Ateinza, it said that the logs cut before the moratorium is intended for the infrastructure projects of former Congressman Veloso within the District of Leyte.
It added that the clearance sought has been granted and that it had to issue a permit to retrieve and dispose the said logs.
However, some terms and conditions have to be met like no other logs should be involved than those explicitly cited on kilometers 6 and 12 as inventoried by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office.
In one part of the dialogue, Ms. Charo Cabardo asked why give it to Veloso when it should be utilized by Samarnons as it was felled from their area.
The Regional Executive Director of DENR answered that it was only Veloso who applied for the lumber.
Other NGO members called the process a 'unilateral give-away'.
Information that sprouted from the dialogue suggested that some more timber is left to rot because nobody knew they existed.
RED explained that DENR will be thankful if the same will be disposed as it could pose hazard to the health of the people.
Still others are concerned that the 30 thousand board feet will just be used as a front to dispose of 'good' lumber these days.
Presently, Samar is placed under a logging moratorium.
Samarnons, including Eastern and Northern Samar have dramatically displayed their opposition to "logging and mining" in a caravan held some years ago, this has gained support from the top officials of the Catholic Church.
Allan Amistoso, a former town councilor turned media pacified the disgruntled group by saying that the same group will unite and like Veloso seek the approval of DENR Secretary in retrieving some timber felled before and have not really been properly inventoried by the DENR or any authority.
From the discussion more lumber and logs are said to be located somewhere in Kilometer 17 of the former San Jose Timber logging roads in the heart of Samar.
Meanwhile, Atty Benjamin Teoco, representative of Veloso said his party will still rehabilitate the impassable roads to effect the retrieval and may build four bridges for the trucks to pass in the recovery of the logs.
He will also talk to Veloso to retain some good logs for the Samarnons.
The women group accepted that the peripheral part or the trimmings which are of no economic value will be the ones left for Samarnons while the donee Veloso will cart away the economically good lumber for his bridge and other projects.
Another concern came from an army who said the insurgents could be resurrected once more with the flow of lumber ľa good source of 'nourishment' for those underground.
With all these concerns, DENR sounded the alarm to be watchful and vigilant on the proper retrieval and disposition of the 30 thousand board feet of lumber coming from Samar, but by stroke of luck will be utilized in Leyte. (PIA-Samar) [top]