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PIA Press Release

DENR warns timber dealers, wood processing plant operators against coddling with timber smugglers

by Eric Herzon F. Gallego

Butuan City (27 February) -- Legitimate operators of mini sawmill, wood processing plant and lumber dealers in Butuan City have been warned against coddling with timber smugglers.

DENR Regional Executive Director for Caraga Region Edilberto S. Buiser made the warning on the heels of the intensified campaign of the DENR against illegal logging activities.

At the same time, CENR Officer Jaime C. Acebu has also met the members of the Butuan Integrated Group of Band-Sawmill Operators and Lumber Dealers (BIGBOLD) to discuss about the new rules and regulations being imposed by the DENR in line with the campaign.

The "BIGBOLD" members were apparently more concerned of their situation in the face of the intensive crackdown by the DENR particularly against timber smuggling and poaching since the start of the year.

Acebu who arranged for the meeting with the mini saw mill operators has sought the full cooperation of the organization as he requested them to heed the new regulations on the transport of forest products being implemented by the DENR.

Director Buiser and the PENRO of Agusan del Norte Rosendo Asunto have both asked the operators of all established wood processing plants in the city to heed the standing policy of the DENR about the transport of forest products to Cebu City.

PENRO Asunto has always emphasized to the group that one of the requirements for the issuance of transport documents on lumber and other building materials is the sales invoice as provided for under PD 205 section 79. The non-issuance of sales invoice, he said, shall be a ground for the suspension of license for a period of not less than 2 years.

CENRO Acebu said some mini-sawmill operators have likewise been asked to secure valid licenses to justify their businesses so that they can earn legitimate income instead of antagonizing the government of revenues needed to spur development of infrastructure in the countryside.

The operators and owners of wood processing plants made have assured the DENR officials of their full cooperation and support on all the programs of the government particularly on the anti-illegal logging campaign.

The DENR Caraga Region has intensified its campaign against timber smuggling throughout the region in line with the declaration of Secretary Jose Atienza, Jr.for 2009 as the "Law Enforcement Year". The declaration has also emphasized the Department's stepped-up campaign to protect the country's environment and natural resources.

Secretary Atienza has made it clear that "the DENR will give more dedication and seriousness in effort to protect the environment, including the land, air, water and forests, against environmental violators." They will be pursued guided by our environmental laws,"

"I am confident that year 2009 can make the difference. Aside from the fact that we have 42 environmental laws that give us more teeth in our fight against environmental violators, the judiciary is also taking a more active role in protecting nature and the country's environment," Atienza said.

CENRO Acebu has encouraged the members to put up a building where they can hold meetings to strengthen their organization and serve as their office where the DENR could easily send communications particularly on matters regarding new policies, rules and regulations concerning forestry matters. (DENR-13/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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