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PIA Press Release

Illegal operators slip off dragnet as DENR operatives seize 151 pieces of illegal lumber

by Eric Herson F. Gallego

Bunawan, Agusan Del Sur (23 February) -- Illegal operators have evaded a dragnet as the DENR operatives swooped down on a lair of illegal sawmills at a remote village in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur recently and confiscated about 151 pieces of lauan lumber with a total volume of 1,081 board feet.

Bunawan CENR Officer Ulpiano D.Dasilao said the operators of illegal small sawmills have scampered away to different directions after sensing the coming of the DENR operatives in Barangay Libertad in this town.

Reports said the operators have also brought with them the parts and portable apparatus that they have used in milling the logs.

It was the first major accomplishment of CENRO Dasilao over the past three weeks of anti-illegal logging and mining operation since he assumed his new assignment in that area.

Dasilao said that rounding up the illegal saw mill operators in his area may be a big challenge to consider but nevertheless, he is determined to take the risk of protecting and preserving the natural resources and the environment.

The DENR have so far dismantled at least 39 illegal operation of portable sawmills which were clandestinely operating in that town. These illegal operators usually serve as destination points of few pieces of logs being brought to them by poachers through the river.

Dasilao said the latest confiscation followed weeks of surveillance in the area by the military-supported DENR operatives in cooperation with the local government officials.

Using portable band-sawmill apparatus, these illegally-cut logs are sawn into lumber, squeezed into closed-vans and transported to the different major destination points which includes the cities of Davao, Butuan and Cagayan de Oro.

Reports from undisclosed sources also revealed that these group of operators are well-organized that they can easily detect DENR surveillance operation. These operators, the report said, could easily dismantle their portable apparatus and hide them from the authorities or go to other locations to set up another secret operation there.

Dasilao said the DENR operatives are finding it difficult to locate these group of illegal operators. Nevertheless, he said they "will continue their hot pursuit operation against them until these bunch of "criminals of our natural resources" are brought before the bars of justice."

He said that the illegal operators are beginning to feel the pressure considering the "death notes" and warning that they are sending upon the DENR officials to "slow down on the campaign."

Dasilao said the top management of the DENR is expecting results from the on-going operation in his area of responsibility.

DENR Regional Executive Director Edilberto S. Buiser has reshuffled some of his key officers at the front lines particularly in Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte early this month in his attempt to further boost the campaign on illegal logging, timber poaching and illegal small-scale mining. (DENR-13/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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